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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Chasing After the Wind

The things of this life are fleeting.  That shiny new car will someday be a rust bucket, the new home will become rundown; and inevitably, if we live long enough, lines and wrinkles will adorn our faces.  Chasing after earthly substance is a race that will be surely lost.  The book of Ecclesiastes is a storehouse of wisdom garnered by King Solomon regarding this subject.  There has been some theological debate as to whether he actually wrote this book; although, there is very strong evidence that he did in fact, author it.  Ecclesiastes 1:1 begins, “The words of the Teacher, son of David, king of Jerusalem.”  This statement is rather conclusive and leaves little room for interpretation.  The word Ecclesiastes is the Greek derivation of the Hebrew word, Qoheleth, which means, “Teacher, or speaker in the assembly” (The Archaeological Bible, 1014).  A theme of this book is that physical death is the great equalizer, all men will experience it (save for the rapture) no matter their station in life (Ecc. 2:16).   The book of Ecclesiastes repeatedly refers to the pursuit of earthly treasure and pleasure as “chasing after the wind” (Ecc. 1:14,1:17,2:11,2:26).   
 My kitchen cabinets are in need of refinishing.  That doesn’t seem like such a huge dilemma to deal with, but my late father custom built them and stained them in a lovely dark color that I am seriously considering changing.  The cabinets that are still pristine are beautiful; but the ones that are worse for wear beg to be redone.  A lighter shade would brighten the kitchen and I am going to antique them classic French Country vanilla.  This seems silly, but I am struggling with changing what he labored so hard to build.  As I began to unscrew the cabinet handles, I wondered if he ever imagined that 32 years after he put these handles on that I would be removing them and redoing his work.  Ecclesiastes 2:18, 19 echo my thoughts, “I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me.  And who knows if he will be a wise man or a fool . . . ?”  
Ecclesiastes 1:3-6 muses, “What does a man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun?  Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.  The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises.  The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course.”  In the Hebrew, the word for the Holy Spirit is Ruah, meaning wind. In John 3:8 Jesus explains to Nicodemus about the Spirit, “The wind blows wherever it pleases, You hear its sound but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.  So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” (NIV).  Chasing after the wind is futile, unless it is the wind of the Spirit.  I don’t know if my earthly father would consider me a fool for my revisions to his work, but I do know that my heavenly Father is pleased that I am wisely chasing Him.

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