Do Not Despair
Ecclesiastes seems a rather depressing book of the bible. It is one to which we can probably all relate. I know I can. There have been more times than I care to acknowledge that something was “meaningless,” as the author repeats over and over again. When I was in college, I went away by myself for a week to a cabin in the woods (sans axe murderer, creepy haunting, or other such horrors), and while I was there, I listened to a series of lectures on Ecclesiastes by Allistair Begg. Perhaps not what many think of as relaxing alone time but, they were fantastic. Throughout the whole book, I wanted there to be some grand revelation, some loud proclamation of Do Not Despair, but it never really came.
What Did Come
Running after money, fame, fortune, pleasure all leads to ruin. Being poor causes you to be taken advantage of – both ends of the spectrum leave us feeling empty. But, despite the significant focus on the negative, there is a positive ending. It’s summed up in the idea that while chasing after things of the world is meaningless, what you do for God is not. Everything – even our hearts and secrets – will be judged in the end – so having the best of everything, or having nothing at all, has no bearing on your acceptance by God. What does matter is that we have kept His commandments and done what we should for Him. This may seem an impossible task because – it is. Fortunately, that doesn’t matter.
Better Yet, Jesus
Why? Because our hearts can never be right. We will always come up short because the heart of man is deceitful and desperately wicked. But it’s ok. God isn’t looking at our hearts alone. He’s looking at them through the cleansing blood of Jesus. So, when we are presented to God at the end of our days – He will not simply see our sins; he will see the blood of the lamb over the mantle of our hearts and pass us over for judgment. How wonderful that we, sinful as we are, can stand boldly before God and receive his grace.
We can and should do all we can for God. Good works are good – they show that we mean what we say we believe. But they don’t save us. Only grace does that. So, we do not need to despair – not when we have Jesus.