Life is short and meaningless, and it fades away like a shadow. Who knows what is best for us? Who knows what will happen after we are gone?
A good reputation at the time of death is better than loving care at the time of birth.
It’s better to go to a funeral than to attend a feast;
funerals remind us that we all must die. Â Â Â Ecclesiastes 6:12-7:2 (CEV)
Don’t stop! This really is not a â€œdownerâ€ devotion! I promise! Too often I have read Ecclesiastes 3 (â€œa time to…â€) and ignored the rest of the book. It is thought that Solomon wrote this and whoever it was â€“ they were having a bad week or year or life because it is pretty melancholy, isn’t it? However, there are lessons to learn.
This will be my last â€œBook Recommendationâ€ for 2011. I have been reading Billy Graham’s new book, Nearing Home (ISBN#0849948320). It is not a book just for people of Rev. Graham’s generation and age. It is for all of us, no matter our age. Do I have a guarantee on how long I will be here before Jesus calls me home? Rev. Graham hooked me as I read his Introduction. I wondered, not if I knew how to die, but did I know how God wanted me to live and serve every day no matter my age or limitations?
Another subject to consider is a very popular one: retirement. I don’t find that word or concept in the Bible. I would appreciate if anyone reading this devotion would tell me where God says I get to sit and be served as some might define retirement. Most people that I know who have retired from the job they may have had for 30-40 years are busier than when they were employed. They read or play games with people in nursing homes. They help care for their grandchildren. They volunteer at hospitals, USO centers, and schools. They serve. They have told me that they feel like they are â€œfinally doing my real callingâ€.
Rev. Graham’s book encouraged me but it also made me uncomfortable with its questions and consideration of God’s Word. God has been speaking to me about â€œlegacyâ€ and what is it I want my children and grandchildren to remember about me. The passage in Ecclesiastes may seem harsh but this life, here, is but a fading shadow of my eternal life and it is the fruit of my life in Jesus that I want to produce in abundance.
For I have often told you, and now say again with tears, that many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction; their god is their stomach; their glory is in their shame. They are focused on earthly things, but our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of His glorious body,by the power that enables Him to subject everything to Himself. Â Â Philippians 3:18-21 (HCSB)
As I â€œprepareâ€ in this Advent season, I am asking God’s Spirit to examine me and teach me His ways. I want to follow Jesus and encourage my children and grandchildren to do the same. It’s not about the perfection of my life with Jesus. It is about my willingness to give my best to serve and build His Kingdom. A young man gave me a wooden plaque many, many years ago. It still hangs in my office today. It says: â€œWorking for the LORD doesn’t pay much but the retirement plan is out of this worldâ€. May my LORD find that I give my best for Him.
The Little Drummer Boy, originally known as Carol of the Drum by Katherine K. Davis (1941)Â