Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-23
I agreed to write devotions for this week before really delving into the texts. You've heard the adage, "If the shoe fits, wear it." How fitting for this pack rat to read Solomon's reflections on the meaninglessness of his wealth! Last March, our Lenten series "Sinners Anonymous" applied the 12 Steps of repentance and renewal to several topics, including compulsive shopping and hoarding. I've done decades of collecting many things, seeking treasures in the trash, reclaiming and restoring forlorn items with some plausible stewardship and curator role. While I still strive to find creative ways to share these interests, it's tough to establish balance when I feel buried alive. It's overwhelming! Storage and maintenance gets ridiculous. My barn is caving in from rot, my stuff is getting damaged. Our materialistic society has transformed many Baby Boomers' households into over-crammed storerooms and left our garages with no room for a car. I can only open the service door to the garage half way before it hits some of my treasures. It’s been so long since I could get in the garage that I don’t have a clue what’s in their. Repentance is clearly needed! Matthew 6:19-22 and Philippians 4:11-13 are our cures.
Lord, it's humbling to realize the next generation doesn't value the majority of our stuff. Help us become better stewards within our lifetime, giving to our descendants legacies of love and faith which honor You. Amen.
Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-23 (NRSV)
2 Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
12 I, the Teacher, when king over Israel in Jerusalem,
13 applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven; it is an unhappy business that God has given to human beings to be busy with.
14 I saw all the deeds that are done under the sun; and see, all is vanity and a chasing after wind.
18 I hated all my toil in which I had toiled under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to those who come after me
19 --and who knows whether they will be wise or foolish? Yet they will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity.
20 So I turned and gave my heart up to despair concerning all the toil of my labors under the sun,
21 because sometimes one who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave all to be enjoyed by another who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil.
22 What do mortals get from all the toil and strain with which they toil under the sun?
23 For all their days are full of pain, and their work is a vexation; even at night their minds do not rest. This also is vanity.