Ecclesiastes 3

Something To Stand On

Ecclesiastes 3

Do you have something to stand on?

I have been thinking about this since Whitney’s passing. She stood on John 13:7:

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.

She carried that verse with her, both in her heart and on her license plate and class ring. She believed it, lived it, and, ultimately, died with it.

I think we all need something to stand on – a motto or mission statement, of sorts. For some of us, that may be a belief or a cause – animal rights, literacy, poverty, something that you stand for, fight for, build a section of your life around. For others, it may be a quote, a verse, or a passage from a book that reflects their life purpose.

I think my something to stand on is a combination of things – a desire to live a life of grace, to be kind, to give love, to live well. There is one quote that really speaks to me:

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.’ – Erma Bombeck 

I believe we all have a purpose here on earth, something we were sent here to do. Whatever my purpose is, it is my constant prayer that I live it, that I see it through to the best of my ability. As Bombeck says, when I ultimately stand before God at the end of my life, I hope I can say I used every last ounce of talent and ability He gave me to see that purpose through. I pray I don’t waste one moment, one ounce of talent.

There are two Bible passages that really resonate with me as part of my something to stand on. Ecclesiastes 3 is one of them. You may be familiar with this passage. It is the “A time to” passage – “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” I used to read only the first 8-9 verses, but recently, I read the entire passage and it clicked – I understood its message. That’s how the Bible tends to work. You can read it over and over, but until you are ready for it to, it may not make a lot of sense.

You can read the entire Ecclesiastes 3 passage here, but here are few of my favorite verses from it:

What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God. – Ecclesiastes 3:9-13

 So I saw that there is nothing better for people than to be happy in their work. That is our lot in life. And no one can bring us back to see what happens after we die. – Ecclesiastes 3:22

These passages – this chapter – encourages us to live. Live and be happy. We are given this life, whatever “this” life may look like for you. We are meant to live it, and live it well.

Another Bible passage that has resonated with me as of late is James 4:13-17:

Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.”  How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil. Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.

As a whole, I really love the Book of James. But this particular passage above sometimes feels as though it were written with me in mind. I am a planner. I love a good plan. I love having my day mapped out. I love being able to look ahead with my week and say “I’m doing this on this day and that on this day.” I like to look further ahead and say “in this many weeks this will happen and in this many years I will be at this place doing this thing.”

Except, more and more, I realize my plan is not always God’s plan. Some days, He allows my day to go exactly as planned. Other days, he intervenes. Sometimes its as small as a date canceling. Other times its as big as putting in my heart to move back to my hometown after I swore I would live in Nashville forever and ever.

The more I open myself up and allow my heart freedom, the more I see His purpose in my life. When I pray, I find myself praying for His will, versus my own desires. Sure, I still pray for people and situations and even things, but I always come back to praying for His will. The more I give my life over, the freer I become, the better able I am to live out my purpose, whatever that purpose ultimately is.

I especially love the last line about how it is a sin to know what we should do, but still not do it. We are given a purpose for a reason – and we are only here for a little while.

Those versus and the Erma Bombeck quote are part of my something to stand on. While I believe everyone needs something to stand on, I also think our something to stand on changes and evolves as we grow and learn. My something to stand on has certainly changed.

What is your something to stand on? You life motto or mission?

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One Comment

  1. I love that Erma quote, but for some reason, Isaiah 40:31 has always moved me deeply. I mutter it when the steep hill that is usually my next-to-last mile on runs at home is threatening to dominate me. Of course, you also happen to know I’m waiting on God to decide I’m ready for a new job, and it’s hard NOT to be weary of that belabored study in patience.

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