Eternal Value In Christ
Revised and preached on 10-2-05
Ecclesiastes 1:1-14 ESV
(1) The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
(2) Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
(3) What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?
(4) A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever.
(5) The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises.
(6) The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns.
(7) All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again.
(8) All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
(9) What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.
(10) Is there a thing of which it is said, "See, this is new"? It has been already in the ages before us.
(11) There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after.
(12) I the Preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem.
(13) And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with.
(14) I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.
We first have to recognize the view of the Preacher Solomon; He is talking about those things that are under the sun, or under heaven. This is his vantage point, under the sun. He say look I have spent my time in search of meaning and of the things that are important, that have a lasting value and he states that everything that is done under the sun is useless and of no lasting value.
Solomon was the wealthiest, probably very handsome, intelligent, wise, and popular. People came from all over the world in those days to see and speak with him. Solomon had hundreds of wives and concubines; he had lots of material things, and lived in a time of peace. Yet after getting involved with and pursuing the things of this earthly life he comes to the point were he realizes that life is empty. The things that this world has to offer are worthless.
Many people today put their hope, Faith, and trust in the things that this world has to offer. They pursue all kinds of things.
For example many people look to money or wealth as the end all be all of life. Get lots of money, money will make you happy. It doesn’t matter how you get it as long as you have it.
Solomon had extreme wealth and he tells us that it is meaning less and of no hope to have lots of wealth or material things.
There is a story told by the chief accountant for one of the wealthiest men who ever lived--John D. Rockefeller. Someone asked the accountant one day, "How much did John D. leave? We know he was an immensely wealthy man." Without a moment's hesitation, the accountant answered, "Everything!"
He left everything behind. What lasting value does money have? None.
We have the Enron situation of a few years back were people who had money were doing illegal things to get more money and probably other things were going on there as well, the situation with Martha Stewart doing what she did to make money. The fact is that Money and Wealth are looked at today as the end all be all of life, the most important thing is to have lots of things, to have lots of wealth and whoever dies with the most toys wins. But the hard cold fact is that it’s not.
There are many who along with money or wealth purse power and usually people equate having money with having or gaining power.
U.S. Indicts 4 Tennessee Lawmakers in Corruption Case
By JOHN BRANSTON
Published: May 27, 2005
MEMPHIS, May 26 - Four members of the Tennessee legislature, including a member of the Ford family dynasty in Memphis, were indicted on Thursday after a two-year undercover operation by the F.B.I. whose outcome has rattled the state's political establishment.
Among those indicted was State Senator John N. Ford, one of the most powerful politicians in Memphis, who was charged with extorting $55,000 from a bogus company created by the bureau. He was also indicted on three counts of threatening to shoot or kill anyone he suspected was an F.B.I. agent or was trying to set him up.
The indictments, announced by United States Attorney Terrell L. Harris, named three other state lawmakers and a former state legislator who is now an aide to the mayor of Shelby County, which encompasses Memphis.
Sometimes people who were rich and wealthy at one time end up broke and even in prison. That reminds me of the scripture that says:
Riches certainly make themselves wings.
Jesus said that we can’t serve both God and Money.
Its not only riches and material possessions that people purse many people today put their faith in medicine and health products. They try and trust that if they take these pills they will stay young and healthy, that they will live a long life. I heard of a product that you can buy that is suppose to give you all the nutrients and cure every ace and pain you’ve got and keep you alive for, I don’t know ever. It’s Blue green algae; do you know what blue green algae is? Its pond scum; you can now buy pond scum and live healthier and happier. I have a little swamp out back of my house, I think I’ll collect some and see if I feel better.
Many people even go beyond this and get surgery to make themselves look young, plastic surgery. I’ve seen some of the bad plastic surgery that’s been done. Often as the person gets older they look worse that if they hadn’t gotten the surgery. They often look plastic or sick. Far from looking healthy and young and far from keeping them alive longer.
Exercise, eating right and vitamins are all fine things as long as they are not were we place our faith and hope. Even plastic surgery has its place when people have been in bad accidents or something like that. But to trust and hope in things like fake lips and hair to make you look young that’s crazy and again of no lasting value.
Many people today pursue education. There is the belief that all we need to make ourselves better and happy and the world a better place is to get educated. Many many people spend most or ever all of their lives in pursuit of intelligence and education and many never even use the education they get. I’ve talked with people in Friendly’s when I’m working and many of them tell me that they graduated college for whatever and then their working at Friendly’s. Why? They don’t know. Some tell me that their planning on going back to school for something else.
We think that education will solve all are troubles solve world problems. Education is the answer for the poor, the rich, the ugly. Education is of no lasting value especially when education is your life, is your Love.
Some people see education as the anchor of civilization, but it was the one of the best educated nations on earth that gave birth to the Nazis.
Faith Hope and Love are eternal. But Faith in Medicine or health is foolish, Hope in money is hopeless and love for education is idolatry. Really it doesn’t matter what we Hope in or put our Faith in or Love, if it’s not God it’s not of any value.
Put your treasures in heaven. Place your hope in the eternal.
Mat 6:20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Mat 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Place Jesus on the throne and seek after the eternal. Follow after Jesus and these other things if their useful they will fall into their proper place but Have Hope in Jesus, Have Faith in Jesus, And Love Jesus. There is were we find eternal value, in Jesus Christ.
Paul gives us his perspective on what is valuable.
Phi 3:4-8 ESV
(4) though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more:
(5) circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee;
(6) as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness, under the law blameless.
(7) But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
(8) Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ
We need that kind of perspective. All is loss or garbage if it is not Christ. Christ Jesus Crucified, Buried, and raised to life.
Not education, or money, or religion, or anything else. Put your Faith, Hope, and Trust in Christ.
If you’re a Christian keep your eyes on Christ seek after Him. Eternal life is found in Christ, eternal value and purpose and hope are found in Jesus. Don’t get side tracked keep looking to Him.
If you’re not a Christian, what are you hoping in? Money, power, health, education? What do you trust in? Your day is coming as is mine, are you ready to talk to God face to face? Or are you hoping in the things of this world or your good works? What do you trust in? Were your treasures?
Here is a poem I found that sums things up nicely:
I counted all my dollars while God counted crosses;
I counted gains while he counted losses;
I counted my worth by the things gained in store,
But He sized me up by the scars that I bore.
I coveted honors and sought for degrees;
He wept as He counted the hours on my knees.
I never knew till one day by a grave
How vain are the things that we spend life to save.
I did not know till a friend went above
That richest is he who is rich in God's love.
--James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 253.
Let me leave you this morning with the words of Paul.
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ