January 7, 2021
by David Ward, DDS
“…Fear God and keep his commandments…” (Ecclesiastes 12:13, NIV).
In the book of Matthew, Jesus Christ gave the Sermon on the Mount, and in Matthew 6:22-23, He teaches about the importance of keeping our eyes healthy. As Jesus said, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light” (Mathew 6:22, NIV). When reading that passage, I could not help but imagine what the collective eye of humanity witnessed during 2020. It is true, that year generated and continues to generate great despair, fear, worry, frustration, anger, hopelessness, sin and all the like. Although the above verse is a part of a passage that teaches on money, there is more to these verses. There is a heart condition which is rooted in the greatest commandment. That commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul and mind, and to love your neighbor as you love yourself (Matthew 22:37-40). It is this principal that can help us work through seasons like last year and keep our eyes on eternity.
In the book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon displays a poor assessment of life when we lack focus on what is eternal. In this book, King Solomon shares his assessment of life on Earth from two points of view: natural and eternal. From the natural, his conclusion on life is that everything is meaningless (Ecclesiastes 1:2). As King Solomon explains, many aspects of our lives including the work we do, the pleasures we seek and the riches of life are all meaningless (Ecclesiastes 1-2). He even describes how death or having never been born is better (Ecclesiastes 4:2-3). After this last year, how much could we relate to King Solomon? If we could all reflect like King Solomon on our lives, could we derive the same conclusions? These points are important because they highlight the loss of an eternal perspective.
Contrasting himself, King Solomon proclaims that the only source of joy, happiness and fulfillment in life come from God. As King Solomon begins to say in Ecclesiastes 2:25, “For without Him, who can eat or find enjoyment?” (NIV). Again, King Solomon asserts that God makes ‘…everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart…I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live” (Ecclesiastes 3:11-12, NIV). In these verses, we can see that we were created for eternity and that proper living cannot be separated from God. Although there is a time for everything on earth (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8), and seasons will come and go, it pales in comparison to our eternal God. Therefore, King Solomon summarizes in chapter 12, the only thing that matters is to live for eternity by fearing God and keeping His commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
As a word of encouragement, as we are all likely in need, let us keep our eyes on eternity. We were created by a great and mighty God who is constantly working for our good and molding us into the image of His son Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28-29). There is great promise and hope when we choose to fear (awe and wonder) God, follow His commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13) and live life in the Spirit (Galatians 5:13-26). It is all made possible due to the living hope that is Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:3). He is the one who commands us to not fear the trouble we face because He overcame the world (John 16:33). For all that we are experiencing, God is calling us to turn to Him. Therefore, let’s seek first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33) and keep our eyes on eternity.