Pondering Thoughts From Ecclesiastes

The beginning of a New Year is always a time of reflection, introspection, and planning for the future. As we are about to enter another New Year, let us ponder the following thoughts from the inspired book of Ecclesiastes:

1)For in much wisdom is much grief, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow” (Ecclesiastes 1:18) — The more of life’s realities we experience, the sadder it sometimes makes us. The longer we live, the more evil we witness, the more injustice we see, the more grief we endure — the more we know, being more aware of how things ought to be — and in that knowledge, we become more conscious of the reality that things are rarely that way.

2)I know that whatever God does, It shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him” (Ecclesiastes 3:14) — Mankind spends a great deal of time trying to improve upon the work of God, and it just can’t be done. We cannot make better what God has ordained, whether in nature or in spiritual things. We should learn to accept what God has created and provided for us — and be grateful (James 1:17).

3)That which is has already been, and what is to be has already been; and God requires an account of what is past” (Ecclesiastes 3:15; cf. Ecclesiastes 1:9 — Every generation comes along seeking its own style, its means of differentiating itself from others who went before. It’s a pointless, foolish, and ultimately an impossible task. Everything that can be done, has been done. As generations come and go, technology may improve, but beneath the shiny new veneer, it’s still the same old, same old. Let’s fully realize that we can never impress God with our “new” innovations, because He’s “been there, seen that” innumerable times before.

4)Better is a handful with quietness Than both hands full, together with toil and grasping for the wind” (Ecclesiastes 4:6) — There are many Scriptures that remind us to be "content" with what we have (cf. Proverbs 15:16-17; Philippians 4:11-12; 1 Timothy 6:6-8). Discontentment with material things, is "rebellion" against God (cf. Numbers 11:16-18,31-34). To be discontented for what we have, is to accuse God of not blessing us as He should.

5)In the day of prosperity be joyful, But in the day of adversity consider: Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other” (Ecclesiastes 7:14) — As Christians, we need to be happy for the good times life brings us, but acknowledge that the bad times have their "purpose" as well (Romans 8:28,35-39). Sometimes we have to be brought low to better appreciate the highs in life. God allows us to be tested (as Job was), because that testing produces patience or steadfastness in us, whereby we are made more "perfect" (James 1:2-4); thus better able to serve Him.

6)Also, do not take to heart everything people say, Lest you hear your servant cursing you. For many times, also, your own heart has known that even you have cursed others” (Ecclesiastes 7:21-22) — Let’s not pay too much attention to the mean and cruel things people may say about us, because how often have we said something cruel and mean about someone else without thinking, or really meaning it? Let us follow our Lord’s teaching in Matthew 7:3-5, and with humility, be willing to "forgive" our fellow-man (Colossians 3:12-13; cf. Matthew 18:21-22).

Mike Riley, Gospel Snippets