Monday, August 26, 2013

How to Know the Right Thing to Do at this Time? Ecclesiastes 3

There is a right time for everything. Everything in its time is beautiful. These are the famous sayings of Ecclesiastes 3. It is not just the timing, but the right thing to do at this time. Soloman list out 8 pairs of actions to guide your decision making. He further clarified that a work is not a curse not vanity when you know that God has a calling for everyone and enables them to walk meaningfully in this life. While there are unfairness in the world, God will one day judge them all and make things right. Soloman hinted to the coming of Jesus Christ when he asked, "Who can be sure where the spirit go after this life?".
The Keys of Ecclesiastes 3 is shown in the mind-map below:

  1. Cycle of Life does not mean vanity but beauty. Everything is beautiful in its time. There is a right time for the right action. The endless cycles show the eternality or long life of God's creation.
  2. It is not just the timing but the action also. Solomon listed 8 pairs or 16 action that one need to consider when deciding what to do at a particular time.  There is no one action for all time. Base on the time, the situation, the people involve, there is right thing to do. (see also: Business Strategies and Decision Making According to the Bible). If you like to have a 64 states and actions version, you can refer to I-Ching in One Minute.
    1. To start or to end.
    2. To sow or to harvest
    3. To compete or to co-operate
    4. To tear down or to re-build
    5. To be sad or to to be happy
    6. To accumulate or to give away
    7. To be quiet or to speak up
    8. To embrace or to separate.
  3. A Standard to Follow. If there is a right thing to do at a right time, then there must be a standard of judging right or wrong. This is not situational ethics. Rather, it is the application of an absolute standard for various situations. If we don't consider the specifics of a situation and blindly apply the standard, then we commit the error of legalism. If everything is relative, then there is not standard of right and wrong. 
  4. Work is not a curse. God created man and commanded him to manage the earth in Genesis 1:28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over. Work occurred before the sin of man in Genesis 3.
  5. We are God's masterpiece created in Christ Jesus for good work Eph 2:8. See also  You are a Masterpiece Created in Christ.
  6. What about the unfairness in this World? God will one day judge the earth. The delay of judgment is for man to see that without God, he is no better and just like animals. 2Peter 3: 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
  7. Hinting about the Coming of Jesus - The man from Heaven. "Who can be sure that  human spirit goes up to God  & the spirit of an animal goes down into  ground?" Ecc 3:21   The One from heaven will know. John 3:13 NIV No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven--the Son of Man.
Lim Liat (c) 27 Aug 2013

Saturday, August 24, 2013

"Pleasures & Wealth Do not Satisfy." said the one who had gone through all - Ecclessiates 2

One of the richest and wisest kings of all time, King Solomon, pursued pleasures, wealth, great works and great wisdom told us that at the end of it all, nothing truly satisfies and all is vanity.
The mind-map for this chapter 2 is:

To discover the meaning of life, King Solomon embarked on full scale experiments of

  1. seeking pleasure of wine and wives and concubines, of songs and dances, 
  2. accumulating great wealth of not just silver and golds, but also of slaves and live stocks.
  3. building great work of houses, vineyards, gardens, parks, reservoirs. Solomon was the one who built the Temple of God.
  4. pursue of great wisdom.
It does not mean that pleasure, wealth and great works are not important. It does mean that they cannot be the highest objective of one's pursue in life. They can be the by-products or sub-objectives. By pursuing the truth one gets freedom and joy as by-products. By just pursuing wealth or happiness alone, one is never satisfied and will end in disappointment.

His conclusion was shocking to ordinary men like us, who thought highly of wealth and pleasures. He said those things could never satisfy us, no matter how much. He lamented that all his great works and wealth will be given to others after his life on earth is gone. What then is the meaning of life. He answers for us in the next chapter3.

Lim Liat (c) 23 Aug 2013