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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Neighbor + Great Commision = Loving Yourself

Ecclesiastes 2:17-26 (ESV)
17 So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind.

The Vanity of Toil

18 I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, 19 and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. 20 So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, 21 because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22 What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? 23 For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity.

 24 There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, 25 for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? 26 For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.

Solomon was on the wealthiest men of is time. He basically had anything his hear desired; servants, a variety of many different woman (wives and concubines), a grand house, choice food, etc. Still he saw it all as vanity.

I wanted to double check what vanity means. So, I looked it up to be sure it was similar to emptiness ( הֶבֶל hebel, emptiness or vanity; figuratively, something transitory and unsatisfactory; often used as an adverb:—× altogether, vain, vanity.

Solomon was not wanting to leave everything he owned to someone else who may or may not be a fool.  I can’t help but thinking, “It all belongs to God,” and “My reward is in heaven, not here on earth”

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and rust destroy
and where thieves break in and steal, 
but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor rust destroys
and where thieves do not break in and steal. 
For where your treasure is,
there your heart will be also.”
(Matthew 6:19-21 ESV)

In verse twenty-three the king’s days are full of sorrow, his work is vexing, and He can’t even rest in his heart at night. I have a passage for that too. It is one of my favorites, Isaiah 26:3-4:

“You keep him in perfect peace 
whose mind is stayed on You,  
because he trusts in You.
 Trust in the Lord forever,  
for the Lord Jehovah
is an everlasting rock (strength).
Now, let’s contrast this time prior to Christ and the Great Commission.

In the old days, they were told to love the Lord with all their heart, all their soul, and all their strength and were given the Ten Commandments and other rules to follow. (Deut. 5-6) Mainly, their purpose in life was to love and honor God. However, when Jesus summarized the ten commandments He also clarified that we should love our neighbors as our self. Looking back at the Ten Commandments, I can see that now.

This thought process has lead me to the fact that  I know I don’t want to spend eternity separated from God. So, why would I not tell my neighbor(s) –whom I am supposed to love as myself– about the Kingdom of God and how to get there (ouch!).  A neighbor isn’t just a person you are living next to. It could be anyone you visit with or see regularly.
Lord, lead me and guide me. Help me to hide Your Words in my heart, so that, I won’t sin against You and that I may be prepared to share it with others when the . Please, give me the words to say to those You have placed in my path. Those you have given me to love and share Your love with. Let me be Your hands and feet to them.  Thank You, God, for your grace, mercy, faithfulness, love, and letting me live during “such a time as this”.  Lord, use me, however you see fit to bring glory to Your name. And finally may Your kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. . . amen

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