Today we have a few more comments on the passages we have read so far. We have seen that the Teacher sounded his word of boredom and failure in an age of unprecedented prosperity and progress. Good times represent the real danger in our life. We are not gods, and when we take the responsibility for our lives on ourselves we are taking on the “burden of the gods” and eventually fall into despair because we cannot deal with all that comes our way. We are created beings and are designed to depend on our Creator.
But though we are not gods, we are not animals either, as the Teacher noted. God has “set eternity in the hearts of men”. We catch here the awareness of a religious instinct within us, an instinct that has been observed in every human society ever studied. Our hearts perceive eternity in the beauty of the created world. This sense of beauty and pleasure is explained by the Teacher as the desire of a loving Creator who would naturally want the crown of his creation to experience delight. But this sense of eternity does not inevitably cause every person to turn to the God who placed it there. Those who limit their experience to sensory pleasure can end up asking, “Is that all there is?” Chasing wealth, success and gourmet sex, or succumbing to the stupor produced by drugs never brings true satisfaction or a sense of achievement, as the Teacher discovered and describes so poignantly. The account of his decadence serves as a perfect description of what happens when we lose sight of the Creator whose good gifts we enjoy. If pleasure alone is our goal, we lose sight of the One who who gave us such good gifts as sexual drive, taste buds, and the capacity to appreciate beauty. So, concludes the Teacher, wholesale devotion to pleasure will lead to a state of utter despair.
The Teacher insists that the stones we trip over are good things in themselves. The problem is the use we make of them. We turn nudity into pornography, wine into alcoholism, food into gluttony, and human diversity into racism and prejudice. Despair sets in as we abuse God’s good gifts. They no longer appear to be gifts, and no longer good. We do well to understand this and take the lessons of the Teacher to heart. They will save us much heartache.
Things to ponder in the presence of the Lord we know, and love. In Him we find our true fulfilment.
Of our church family, let’s pray for
Roy & Rita
Robert & Jan