Father in Heaven, You are my confidence, abundantly adequate to meet my every need.
 Ship your grain across the sea; after many days you may receive a return.  Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.  If clouds are full of water, they pour rain on the earth. Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where it falls, there it will lie.  Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.  As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.  Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.  Light is sweet, and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.  However many years anyone may live, let them enjoy them all. But let them remember the days of darkness, for there will be many. Everything to come is meaningless.  You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.  So then, banish anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body, for youth and vigor are meaningless.
Reflect:DO YOU EXPECT DIFFICULTY OR ARE YOU SURPRISED WHEN IT COMES?
M. Scott Peck begins his bestseller The Road Less Traveled with: “Life is difficult.” He says that most people have not accepted this and, because they expect life to be easy, end up disgruntled. Peck adds, “Once we truly see that life is difficult, we transcend it” (London: Arrow Books, 1990).Three words also capture the essence of today’s passage: Life is risky. The Teacher is a pragmatist who recognizes life’s uncertainties (2b; 9:11,12). Awareness of life’s risks, however, need not hold us back from savoring life’s sweetness (7,8a). Using illustrations from commerce (1,2) and agriculture (3,4), the Teacher offers sound risk management advice: invest despite the risks (1); be patient, since investments take time to mature; and diversify, in order to spread risk (2). The one certainty about life is… it’s uncertain! Informed choices are important, but no information is ever perfect. Waiting until we know everything before venturing to do something may result in our doing nothing (4). Since we live with risk, let’s learn to manage it. Most importantly, while taking account of risk, let’s never forget to factor in trust in “the Maker of all things” (5).
Take a step that may involve risk, but do it with the wisdom of the counsel given by the Teacher.
Lord, let me view every risk I face as another opportunity to grow in faith and trust in You.
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