Viewing Life Through Ecclesiastes
THE WISE AND THE FOOLISH
‘A wise man’s heart inclines him toward the
right, but a fool’s heart toward the left” (Ecc 10:2).
Here, people are seen as belonging
to two distinct groups. the ‘wise” and the “foolish”. This has no relation to a
person’s intellectual capacity or intelligence, but refers to the level of
spiritual wisdom and perception. The word “heart” refers to the inner being.
from which all actions come (Mt 12:35). “Right’ and “left” represent good and
bad: of belonging to the spirit and belonging to the flesh. One way leads to
heaven, the other to hell. We can see this by examining the differences between
the wise man and the foolish man.
The wise man fears and honours
God, for ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Pray 9:10: Ps
111:10), The foolish man, however, disregards Him
having as his only god his greed for gain. He may even deny the very existence
Another characteristic of the wise
man is his spiritual discernment, for “a wise man will know the time and the
way” (Ecc 8:5). With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, he can clearly see the
path to salvation, and knows at all times what is right and what is wrong. The
foolish man, however, lacks this discernment, and acts on impulse and according
to his passions. He confuses good for evil, and evil for good, light for
darkness, and darkness for light (Is 5:20). For example, the Pharisees accused
Jesus of using the power of Satan to cast out Satan. Nowadays, many Christians
are also in great confusion with regard to the Holy Spirit and evil spirits. We
pray that we may be like Daniel, possessing a spirit of “insight, intelligence,
and wisdom” (Dan 5:11).
The wise man is humble and able to
accept advice and criticism (Prov 12:15). We can see many examples of this
humility in the Bible and can learn from these great men of faith, like David,
Peter, Apollo, and many others. The foolish man, however, is unreasonable and
stubborn, and will listen to no one but himself. To this the Preacher says,
“Better is a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king, who will no
longer take advice” (Ecc 4:13).
SOWING THE SEEDS
“In the morning sow your seed, and at evening
withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that,
or whether both alike will be good”(Ecc 11:6).
Sowing seeds is every Christian’s
responsibility to the world. There are two types of seeds to be sown - the seed
of the Word (Mk 4:14) and the seed of good deeds, We must sow the seed of the
Word throughout the whole world, for this is the commission of Jesus to all of
us, His disciples. Paul says, “Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of
season” (2 Tim 4:2). This is true, for even a small testimony on our part is
useful. Even if there is no initial response from the listener, the seed may
already have been sown, and with the passage of time the blessed ones will
receive life-giving rain (the Holy Spirit). The seed (the words of God) will
then germinate, and grow in them. Take the example of the boy’s five loaves and
two fish in the feeding of the five thousand. As long as we are willing to
offer what we can to the Lord, it will never be in vain, There are many souls
waiting to be saved in the world, and we must make this our task to work
together to preach the gospel.
The second type of seed is the
seed of good deeds. The Bible says: ‘And God is able to provide you with every
blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may
provide in abundance for every good work … and increase the harvest” (2 Cor
9:8-10). To do good deeds is to help the needy, no matter how small this help
may seem. We can learn from the Lord Jesus, who looked on the suffering people
with compassion, travelling far and wide to help them. Like Jesus, we should do
good works out of love and with a warm heart” (Tit 2:4; Gal 6:10), not
THE WHOLE DUTY OF MAN
“The end of the matter, all has been heard. Fear
God, and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man”(Ecc 12.13).
Besides spreading the gospel and
doing good deeds, it is also our responsibility to fear God and obey His
commandments. We fear the Almighty God, for whatever good or bad we do will be
judged by Him on the Last Day. Since we are His children, stamped with His Holy
Spirit, we keep His commandments as a manifestation of our love to our Heavenly
Father (1 Jn 5:3). We should take the example of Jesus, the Son of God. While
manifested in the flesh, He humbled Himself and was obedient, even to death.
Therefore God exalted Him, giving Him a name above all other names. By His
grace we are saved and born again to be the children of God. Therefore we
should be obedient to His will and fear the Lord, keeping ourselves from the
world. Then, when the time comes, we will be exalted by God, and will appear
with the Lord and be brought into glory (Heb 2:10; Col 3:4).
The Preacher uses the idea of
vanity to show us that all worldly things are transient and futile, However, we
have much more in life than to “eat, drink, and be merry” and then to die. The
Preacher tells us that God is real; He is our omnipotent Creator, and He is our
merciful Saviour. In this sinful, corrupted world of vanity, the Lord has
opened up a new way of life for us, so that someday we may be freed from this world
and enter into the heavenly kingdom to enjoy eternal bliss.