Friday, June 9, 2017
The End of the Matter
Eccl. 12:13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for that is the whole duty of everyone.
We come to the end of the book of Ecclesiastes and the author discovers that all the things of the world are vanity. No matter how hard one tries in life there are circumstances beyond their control and the energies spent may simply become “vanity.” The real value in life is found in one’s relationship with God. Put everything else aside and discover the value in fearing God and keeping the commandments. This is the end of the matter — and it is for everyone.
Reading through Ecclesiastes we can discover much practical advice for life. Over and again we are taught the value of wisdom and are cautioned from destructive paths. At the same time the author comes to the conclusion that of utmost importance is fearing God and keeping the commandments.
When I begin my day my mind can be filled with all the events and activities that will fill me to capacity. I’m teaching a class until noon today and then I have to go to the airport and head to my next destination. My head can swim with working out everything that must be done and sometimes it feels as if every moment of the day is already dictated and laid out before me. But then I need to take a deep breath and relax in the fellowship that I am privileged to experience in our holy God. This is where I learn to “fear” or respect God. God’s ways are much higher than our ways and God’s understanding is beyond our comprehension. The “things” I think I need to accomplish today are nothing in light of my relationship with God.
The language of “fear” doesn’t mean that I am scared to death of God. Instead it comes from a deep love and respect for what God means to me. It comes from a place of genuine desire that what God wants is far greater than anything that I could desire in this life or world. It comes from a posture of humility, where we humble ourselves in the presence of God on high.
Keeping God’s commands affects us at the place of character. The nature or character of God is to be revealed in our behaviors. If we list the ten commandments I think we would discover how many of us fail from time to time. I recently heard a statistic that the average person lies numerous times a day — even those who would consider themselves followers of Jesus Christ! It’s so easy to point fingers at others when, maybe, we need to be pointing our fingers at ourselves. Is there anything that we have allowed to get in the way of keeping God’s commandments?
The end of the matter is what is most important. The to-do list of today is nothing in light of my relationship with Jesus Christ. Quiet time alone with the Lord will be the place where we find peace and rest and have a greater understanding of how our day is to be ordered.
Lord, too often I allow my mind to be cluttered with the busyness of life. It is all “vanity.” May my heart and mind be focused on the end of the matter. Amen.