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Who’s The Stranger?

June 28, 2011

Ecclesiastes 6 starts with the words, “There is an evil that I have seen under the sun.”  We don’t think too much about a statement like that, we are used to the ideas of good and evil…we have read about and been witness to things and events that might fall into either camp.  The significance of the word “evil” in this text is that it implies morality.  In other words, there cannot be evil unless there is good…there cannot be good unless there is order or design…there cannot be design (a way things should be) unless there is a designer…or, as we more commonly refer to Him…God, the Creator.

 Take a minute and read through Ecclesiastes 6…that intro doesn’t have much to do with the overall message of this text, except for reinforcing the reality of our God…and as silly as it might sound, I think we need that reminder sometimes. 

 Everybody knows that guy…the one who gets everything he wants…he has all the money, energy, friends…you know, that guy who has it all.  Solomon, in this case speaking from his personal experience, says in verse 2 that even though that guy lacks nothing of his desires, “God does not give him power to enjoy them.”  He’s saying that even though you might actually get everything you want…you are still going to want more…there is still going to be an insatiable longing for more and more and more.  Listen, if you honestly search your heart you will find this to be both true, and proven in your life.  Remember back in chapter 3 where verse 11 says, “He (God) has made everything beautiful in his time.  Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart.”  That is a huge “also” in there.  It is saying that God has grafted into our very core…into our essence…this knowledge that there is something beautiful just beyond our grasp…out beyond this life under the sun.  Our favorite tax collector Zacchaeus is a great example of this…he had everything the world could offer…money, prestige, and power…and he gave it up because there was something he had to see…that longing in his heart for something beyond his wallet ultimately led him to climb a tree and sacrifice his pride…to get just a glimpse.

 It is at this point that some of you check out and say, “Well, I don’t care if I am rich, or powerful, or even liked, I guess I am off the hook.”  It is a terrible mistake, and one that is made all too often, to think that just because we don’t long for those things that we are somehow more pure or pious.  Solomon goes right after the family guy here in verse 3, because some of us just want security…not millions of dollars…just security.  That is what kids represented in ancient civilizations…kids were the retirement plan, the 401K…sort of the social security of the BC time period.  This is true in some cultures today…we just don’t like to admit it.  So you can eat spinach, and do your cardio, and take your vitamins…but at the end of the day, if your hope is found in your kids, or your health, or your money…it is going to fail you.  That god just won’t hold up.

 I think that this is where we stop today.  I think we need to spend some time asking ourselves where we are finding our security…at who’s feet have we laid our hope.  Who is the stranger (Vs. 2) that is robbing you of true joy?  You know, Zacchaeus has a great ending to his brief story…Jesus looks at him and says these words, “Today, salvation has come to this house.”  All of the idols of his heart had fallen away…he was transformed…he saw just a glimpse of eternity and nothing else mattered to him anymore.  I pray that our lives would echo of that salvation today…that we might trust in a hope for salvation beyond the sun.

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