Monte Hunt – Associate Worship Pastor
We need to be reminded far more often than we need to be instructed. Perhaps the following will be revelatory for some, but for most I hope it serves as a sobering reminder. Live for what matters.
“’Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher.
‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.’
What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun?
Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.
No one remembers the former generations,
And even those yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow them.”
Ecclesiastes 1:1-4, 11
Wow! Talk about depressing, right? And this was written by a man who by all accounts was the most successful man to ever live. King Solomon of Israel had it all: fame, fortune, women, wits, and tremendous power – God gave him everything, and yet these are his own words: “it’s all meaningless.”
And he’s right. The world Solomon lived in is the very same world by which you and I are surrounded. And even now, forgotten generation upon forgotten generation later, the human condition still succumbs to the lie that everything Solomon had is what we need to be happy. But it is just that: a lie. And when we know that something is a lie, then there must be a truth that the lie is distorting.
Notice where Solomon’s grief is rooted: this earth. When he passed on, all the power, the property, the possessions had to stay behind. So the truth must come from somewhere beyond Solomon’s vision, from somewhere beyond this earth. The book of Ecclesiastes lays bear the lie that attaining all the world has to offer will provide true happiness, and the book’s conclusive solution is simple: fear God, and keep His commandments. But Solomon doesn’t really give us much detail on this, nor does he seem very positive about it. To shed more light on this idea we must turn to Jesus. His truth, which comes from beyond this earth, is this:
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves, take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet forfeit their soul?” Luke 9:23-25
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For worldly people run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:31-34
The first saying of Jesus you read is Central’s mantra. You cannot spend any significant amount of time at our church without being subjected to this theme: take up your cross daily, and follow Jesus. We believe it holds the key to what life is all about. Our church believes it, and I personally believe it. But my belief came long before my coming to Central. I believe it because of those who came before me. Not because they simply told me to believe it. No, I believe in the cross of Christ because of their example, and they’re continuing example of what it means to take up His cross daily, and follow.
I am beyond blessed to be in a long line of cross-carrying men and women. First, my father, who I will one day spend an entire entry writing about (along with my faithful mother). I liken him to the prophet Jeremiah, who suffered greatly in his life for the glory of God. For now I would like to share my father’s favorite verse. I think it says a lot about his character. (Side note: typically when I want to include a Bible verse in an entry I Google it, and copy/paste. This one I know by heart and wrote out without even having to think about it. I’ve heard my dad say this more times than I could ever count.)
“Consider it pure joy my brothers when you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance. And perseverance must finish its work so that you might be mature and complete, not lacking in anything.” James 1:2-4
And before my father came his father. I recently read my grandfather’s autobiography, so I leave you with the words he wrote just a few years before his passing.
“I do not consider the victorious life something unique to me, for it is open to all who will believe the Bible, trust in Jesus, and live and serve according to God’s Word. His Word will give anybody a blessed life. His great promises will make anyone’s life rich as they are fulfilled in him or her. And each person can find Christ to be a wonderful Savior, a good Master, and a dear Friend.” – Don G. Hunt
He was a man who lived for what mattered.