Catching the wind

 

King Solomon was one of the wisest men to ever live (and one of the only men to be able to spell Ecclesiastes without looking it up every time.  It’s too hard.  Come on.).  He spoke on  three important things in Ecclesiastes.

  1. Vanity.
  2. Toiling.
  3. Striving after wind (Catching the wind).

1. Vanity.  What is it?  Vanity is defined as the quality of being worthless, futile.  Yikes.  Some people would say this reminds them of the Kardashians.  Now, I will go on record to say I think the Kardashians definitely have some redeeming qualities in real life…but their show is yes, futile.  And popular. And, somehow I may or may not have gotten sucked into watching some episodes while I’m stuck on the recliner recovering from my surgery.

Ecc. 4:6 says, “Better is one handful of quietness than two handfuls of toil and striving after wind.”

So, the wisest man on earth says that quietness is better than watching two episodes of Keeping Up With the Kardashians.  Um.  Yes.

 

2. We talked about “Toiling” last week…so you can read back a blog post if you are interested.

3. Lastly, King Soloman talks about catching the wind?   We all know about this, and understand the word picture.  Striving after something that in not obtainable.

We know you can’t catch wind in a jar or a net.  Or bottle it up.

On the other hand…

You can fly a kite and wind surf.

The wind can catch you.  But, you can’t catch it.  Hmmm…

This speaks to me.  I know I can’t obtain perfection.  I know I can’t have the perfect kids in the perfect house with the perfect marriage and the perfect remodeled kitchen. But, somehow these thoughts catch me up.  They fill up my mind and take me where I’m not wanting to go.  I’m not catching the wind….It’s catching me.

I had a new friend drop by dinner this week.  She had never been to my house before, and it was not in the kind of condition that I’d prefer for 1st time company.  As in syrup on the counter and hamster bedding in a trail down the hall.  I started to say, “I’m sorry.  My house doesn’t always look like this.”  I started to say that because I was letting the wind catch me.  I wanted to look put together.  When in actual reality…MY HOUSE ALWAYS LOOKS LIKE THIS!  WHO AM I KIDDING?  SURGERY OR NOT…THIS IS REAL LIFE.

So friends, this week….I don’t want to be fooled.  I don’t want to be fooled into thinking that I’m not striving, when I actually am.  I tend to think I’m not striving because I’m not outside with a jar trying to catch the wind.  I think that I’m not striving because I’m not trying to “one up” my neighbors.  BUT…That is not the whole package. Striving is two part.  It’s external, and internal.  Am I letting the wind catch me?  Am I letting my thoughts and expectations transform me into a striver.  A striver that apologizes for a “kind of” clean house?  A striver that lets the success of others make me feel envious.  A striver that wishes my kids did things one way, when God made them another?  Am I wind surfing through my life?

I’d rather be like an Oak Tree.  It’s not catching the wind, and the wind is not catching it.  Isaiah 61:3 “They will be called Oaks Of Righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”

God has PLANTED you in your life.  Planted you in a place.  Planted you in a family.  Planted you in friendships.  Planted you in your perfect gifts….gifts to grow and flourish.  If we are “rooted and established in love” (eph 3:17), no wind can move us.

Psalm 16: 8 “I will keep my eyes always on the Lord.  With him at my right hand, I will NOT BE MOVED.”

And, I will forgive King Solomon for the spelling of Ecclesiastes. But, only with the Lord.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Enjoying the Toiling

I have a thing with words.  Some sound so pretty to my ears, and some make me get the shivers.  I’ve always been this way.  It’s not normal….I know. And most of my friends love to frequently use words on my “most hated” list, just to watch me squirm.

In the beautiful genre are words like “chandelier” and “orchid”…or even “genre”.  Aren’t they pretty sounding?  They just roll off your tongue nicely.  Then, there is the Most Hated Words list…newly added is “shiplap”  (thank you Chip and Joanna Gaines for breaking my ears).  Or my all time worst word….it starts with an M and ends with an Oist….  I can’t even put it together.  You can figure it out.

This morning I was reading Ecclesiastes, and another word set off my radar.  TOIL.  Ewww.

I looked it up and toil is defined as working extremely hard or incessantly.  King Solomon speaks directly to this.  He says in Ecc. 2:24 “There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil.” Then he goes on to say in chapter 3 that “taking pleasure in your toil is God’s gift to man.”

I could not agree more.  When I take pleasure in my work, it is so fulfilling.  Beautiful. Meaningful.  But, what about the mundane. The incessant work I don’t enjoy.  Where is God in that?  Where is GOd when I’m not enjoying the toiling?

Ecc. 3:11 says that “God has made everything beautiful in it’s time.”

That is a promise I can hold on to.  When I am not enjoying the mundane, the homework, wiping toothpaste out of the sink, stepping on sticky juice – When I wonder if my toil matters –  If folding the laundry is making a difference in the world, in the Kingdom of God.  God whispers, “In time.”

In time we will see what our hard work has produced.  In time.  “God has set eternity in our hearts (Ecc 3)” and we can be certain that we will see the beauty of our toil, some day, if our hearts are connected to His.

But, in the present we have two choices.  We can choose to enjoy….or we can choose to strive.  King Solomon says to FIND enjoyment in our toil.

These are some questions I need to ask myself daily….

Dear Me,

Do you pray for the world while you fold socks?

Do you pray for your kids when you drop them off at school?  Or drive past school?  Do you pray that the Kingdom of God is being made known already thought them to their buddies.

Do you find yourself becoming a servant when you wash dishes?  Is your attitude happy to serve? Or a martyr.

Do you have friends over, even when you house isn’t perfect, because relationships are more important than perfection?

Do you pray that God’s spirit is in your house before a dinner party. That your friends will feel comfortable, see Christ, and share their hearts?  Or do you strive to make it look like you have it “all together?”

Why do you even want to have it “all together”…wouldn’t you rather be happy?  Let me let you in on a little secret.  Yes, yes you would.

Love, Me.

Is all of life vanity, a vapor, meaningless?  It can be.  Or it can be fully enjoyed.  We have to FIND it.  Find ways to be enjoying the toiling.  Searching this out, may very well be God’s greatest gift to you.