Building a Lego project can be fun. Using the step-by-step manual can help you to put together some really amazing things. However, if you take away the manual, it can become a frustrating process in futility. For most of our lives, that’s how we build. We’re given the pieces to life, and we just hope we build something that is presentable. What happens when those pieces don’t come together like we had hoped? What do we do when we’re given pieces we didn’t even want? Solomon’s wisdom is to prepare us for these moments so that we won’t be knocked down when they happen.
What’s the one thing you need in life to make you happy? If you had just one more thing, would that fix things? Solomon had everything you could fathom, and he had it in abundance. His conclusion- none of it will provide a happiness that will last. The fun is fleeting; the enjoyment temporary. Everything we cling to for hope, that we’re drawn to for joy- if it’s not Christ- has a hook in it. A hidden danger that will ensnare and ultimately destroy us. So what’s the solution? Where do we turn? The key is to shift our gaze from “under the sun” to “things above.”
Confusing, Exhausting, Exasperating, Tedious, Repititous-not exactly words that inspire hope and joy. This is the reality that we all live in though, and it’s the world that Ecclesiastes exposes to us. What do we do with life when we can’t seem to get ahead and find frustrations at every turn? It’s all about perspective.
Humans were built with more than just the capacity for friendship- they were built with a deep need for it. The problem is that friendship takes work, time, and a willingness to sacrifice a measure of yourself for another. The book of Proverbs lays out the definition of a real friend, and it’s more than just shared experiences. It’s lives given for one another, truth told to one another, and a foundation bigger than one another.
The book of Proverbs is a book that can be used as a useful tool to help us grow. However, it has also been used as a weapon to produce guilt and beat down those of us that can seem to live up to its standards or simply hear its warnings too late. There may be no passage more representative of these tendencies than Proverbs 31 and the “excellent wife.” So what do we do with a passage like this? Is it really just for women? What can we learn from a passage like this?
No collection of wisdom would be complete without a little instruction about money. That’s because, unchecked, money has the potential to rule our lives and our joy. The book of Proverbs makes it clear that our money isn’t worthy of the worship it receives. God is the ruler and maker of both rich and poor. The wise man knows this and gives his worship where it belongs.
Are you a lazy person? How do you know? What’s the criteria that you use to judge yourself? The author of Proverbs has no sympathy for the lazy man. The mockery is biting and designed to humiliate. Hard work is a Biblical value for certain, but what are its limits and how do we apply it correctly?
What does the Bible say about our emotions? What are we supposed to do with them? Should we trust them? Embrace? Express? Subdue? Should we feel guilty for them or are they just there? Emotions are complex and there is no simple answer for how Christians should deal with them, but the book of Proverbs does give us some guidance that can help us.
A matter of life and death. That’s what you say about something that is of utmost importance and demands your full attention. It brings to mind things like medical issues and fear inducing situations. It usually doesn’t make us think about our words. After all, words are “just words.” The book of Proverbs considers words to be extraordinarily powerful- a matter of life and death according to Proverbs 18:21.
Wisdom handed down from one generation to another. This has taken many forms throughout the years. Sometimes it’s a lecture or a lesson, but often times it’s simply advice about how to live life. It can be kind of like going out fishing with your dad and listening as he gives you some advice on whatever topic comes up. That’s kind of how the book of Proverbs reads and what we’ll be studying for the next few weeks.
As we come to the end of Matthew’s Gospel, we take the time to go back and look at the story he has told. We look at who Jesus was and the message he preached. A story of a king, his kingdom, and how every other kingdom will eventually crumble, but His is an eternal and abiding one.
“What is the king’s mission?”
“What is my role in that mission?
Those are the guiding questions of a Christians life. If we see God as our king, then we must understand that he has given us a mission. A mission to expand His kingdom one disciple at a time.
Categories, labels, groups- our culture loathes these things. No one wants to be defined or lumped in with others. Such is our individualistic mindset. However, Jesus makes it clear that on the final day there will be two categories- the righteous and the unrighteous. There is no middle ground, no nuance. When that day comes, which category will you be in? How about your friends and neighbors? Our answer to these questions comes with the weight of eternity.
Pay attention to the things that really matter. This is Jesus warning to us all. We may not expect it, but that’s not excuse- we’ve been warned. Prepare yourself and prepare your hearts. One day he will return and we will all give an account for our lives. Will you be ready?
The Olivet Discourse is a Jesus’s longest and most specific teaching about “the end.” However, it is also one of His most controversial and confusing teachings as well. What can we learn from his teaching about “the end,” and what was he really trying to tell us?