Read Ecclesiastes 11
Invest in Many Ventures
11 Ship your grain across the sea;
after many days you may receive a return.
2 Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight;
you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.
3 If clouds are full of water,
they pour rain on the earth.
Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north,
in the place where it falls, there it will lie.
4 Whoever watches the wind will not plant;
whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.
5 As you do not know the path of the wind,
or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb,
so you cannot understand the work of God,
the Maker of all things.
6 Sow your seed in the morning,
and at evening let your hands not be idle,
for you do not know which will succeed,
whether this or that,
or whether both will do equally well.
Remember Your Creator While Young
7 Light is sweet,
and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.
8 However many years anyone may live,
let them enjoy them all.
But let them remember the days of darkness,
for there will be many.
Everything to come is meaningless.
9 You who are young, be happy while you are young,
and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth.
Follow the ways of your heart
and whatever your eyes see,
but know that for all these things
God will bring you into judgment.
10 So then, banish anxiety from your heart
and cast off the troubles of your body,
for youth and vigor are meaningless.
After observing Ecclesiasties 11 we see two different themes. The first theme would be that we, as humans, have many limitations. The second theme the author paints a picture is that we have specific responsibility in this life. Today we want to take a look at the two questions that arise from the two themes. How does the author say we are limited? What does the author say are our responsibilities? We will pull directly from the text to look at these ideas.
The first question we need to answer is “How does the author say we are limited?” Here’s what Solomon tells us:
- We don’t know when or if our labor will return fruitful. (verses 1-2, 6)
- Our future is fixed by God. (verse 3)
- We don’t know how God does what He does. (verse 5)
- We don’t know how long we will live. (verse 3, 8)
The second question for us to answer is “What does the author say are our responsibilities?” Let’s see what our response should be:
- Be diligent in your work, don’t stop toiling (verse 1-2, 6)
- Give away your days, unto Him. (verse 2)
- If you are full, it is so that you will pour out. (verse 3)
- Being overly critical will delay obedience. Be a person of action. (verse 4)
- Rejoice in the days you have and look back with gladness on your life. ( verses 8-10)
When we read these two questions, it can be easy to try and reconcile them in our own thoughts. We should reconcile them according to God’s word. We cannot say, “I am limited, therefore, I do not need to act.” We cannot say, “I hold all the power, I am to do whatever I wish.” The inspired word of God, in Ecclesiastes 11, wants to help us navigate this. Though we are limited, we have great responsibility and our actions matter. Though we do not get to control outcomes, God will carry out His will perfectly. There is a consistent theme throughout scripture that even though God doesn’t need us, He wants to use us.
- How do you find comfort in the truth that you are limited and God is not?
- Are there any areas of your life you’ve been living in delayed disobedience?
- What is something you need to trust God with the outcome now that you’ve acted?
There’s an old Turkish proverb that says, “Do good and throw it into the water, if the fish does not know it, God does.” This exemplifies the Christian life and the idea of working for the approval of God alone (and not man).
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