Thursday, October 27, 2011

Not Much to Write Home About

Ecclesiastes-the definitive book on pointless striving!  Here's the gem from chapter 2 in The Message paraphrase that inspired the blog post title this morning:
"Call me 'the Quester.'  I've been king over Israel in Jerusalem.  I looked most carefully into everything, searched out all that is done on this earth.  And let me tell you, there's not much to write home about."
And here is another little gem from chapter 1:
"What was will be again, what happened will happen again.  There's nothing new on this earth.  Year after year it's the same old thing...Nobody remembers what happened yesterday. And the things that will happen tomorrow?  Nobody'll remember them either.  Don't count on being remembered." 
In other words.  History can and does repeat itself.  Why?  Because lessons learned by a previous generation are forgotten.  And we have an arrogant blind spot-we think that we are much better than previous generations.  We're brighter, smarter, we won't make the same mistakes that they made!  So, if that is the case, then why do we have Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party movements here in the United States?  If we are so much smarter, and we learned past lessons so well, then why do we have the "great recession?"  (Cause heaven forbid we call it what it is-a national and world wide depression.)

I bring this up because I just finished reading a Teddy Roosevelt biography last week and I was struck by how similar the scenarios were to what is going on now.  There was an interesting comment by the author about Teddy's opposition to monopolies.  He wasn't opposed to the accumulation of wealth, he had a problem with how the power that came along with that wealth was used.  It really comes down to ethics and morals and the principle of loving your neighbor as yourself.  The events in the book took place at the beginning of the 20th century and now, here we are at the beginning of the 21st century and we are grappling with the same issues yet again!  We forgot the lessons learned and here we are again, nothing new or different-repeating the same scenario just at a different time and with different individuals.

Life makes a strong case for the importance of knowing history and for reading your Bible!  The Bible reminds us of how important it is to treat each other well.  For Christians it tells a much greater story than that because it tells us about Jesus and how God sent him to complete a mission that could only be accomplished by the Son of God.  The hope is there contained in the book for a better way, no doubt!  But it also is a very practical book-it is a hands on book.  It contains stories of flawed people who sometimes got it right and sometimes got it wrong.  It reminds us that struggle and pain are part and parcel of living on this side of heaven.  But it also teaches us to have hope, to have faith and to love others and treat them fairly.  It's like a book that screams "read this and learn from our mistakes so you don't make the same mistakes!"

The vast majority look at it either as a collection of myths, or they open it when going through times of crisis but they don't read it on a daily basis as a means to learn how to live a better life.  It really is a wonderful guide if you take the lessons to heart!

I am begging you-if you don't read the Bible on a daily basis-make a decision, today, to start, TODAY!  Start with Psalms, start with Proverbs, start with the Gospels, doesn't matter-just pick a spot and start reading!  Use a translation that you can easily understand-read and absorb and underline and write notes, whatever works for you!  Just start!  You would be amazed at how much information is contained in this one book and how practical it is in your life, now, today!  You will find, my darling readers and friends, that the more you read, the more you will think "that is something worth writing home about!"

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