Living and Loving Life
Lord, may I have the ability to recognize You in the everyday realities of my life.
 So I reflected on all this and concluded that the righteous and the wise and what they do are in God’s hands, but no one knows whether love or hate awaits them.  All share a common destiny-the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad, the clean and the unclean, those who offer sacrifices and those who do not. As it is with the good, so with the sinful; as it is with those who take oaths, so with those who are afraid to take them.  This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of people, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead.  Anyone who is among the living has hope-even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!  For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even their name is forgotten.  Their love, their hate and their jealousy have long since vanished; never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun. Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do.  Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil.  Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun-all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun.  Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.  I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.  Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.
Reflect:HOW DOES THE PASSAGE CALL US TO RECEIVE PHYSICAL BLESSING?
Today’s passage is structured like a sandwich. The “bread” layers are bleak: death is certain (1-6); life is uncertain (11,12). Sandwiched between these grim realities, however, lies a delightful “filling,” joyous and light-hearted (7-10a). The Teacher cites some commonplace activities: eating and drinking, cleanliness and clothing (perhaps preparation for a celebration?), marriage, work… Clearly, he has no hang-ups about the goodness of the material world. As Paul affirms, “For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving” (1 Timothy 4:4). Despite the harshness of death and the hazards of life, our response should not be bitterness, cynicism or weary resignation. Instead, we are to embrace life wholeheartedly (10a). We are not called to mere survival, but to live and love life to the fullest.Life and death, joy and sorrow, feasting and fasting–these are inevitable “seasons” of our lives (see 3:1-8). Yet the delicious “filler” in Solomon’s sandwich is but a foretaste, a tantalizing appetizer, of the delightful feast God has planned for those who love him. And it will last for eternity.
Take time to do something you enjoy today. Be aware of the pleasure God shares with you in it.
Father, in a world that falls far short of Your glory, let me see You and the hope of life eternal.
Syndicated via Scripture Union