Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Living Above the Sun





One recurrent phrase running throughout Ecclesiastes is “under the sun”. Looking at Solomon’s life, one would think he had much to be proud of. He had achieved grand construction projects – edifices, gardens, reservoirs, etc. He had amassed tremendous wealth—gold, silver, livestock and the treasure of kings. He had acquired many means of enjoyment—a harem, men and women singers, etc. He had advanced the nation of Israel—there was peace and the respect and accolades of other nations. However, when he looked back, Solomon could only say “Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.”

Solomon’s reflection leads us to believe that if we live only for the purpose of achieving and acquiring in the realm of this world (‘under the sun’), we will remain empty. There is nothing wrong with acquisitions and achievements, per se, but if our happiness rests only on them, we need to re-think our priorities. Not doing so can cause us to become caught in an endless spiral because, no matter how much we achieve or acquire, we always will feel as though there is something more we want. We may even end up with, what some writers call, ‘destination sickness’ i.e., we arrive at the point of having accumulated and acquired all that we want, and then discover it is not what we want after all.

Instead of an ‘under the sun’ perspective, let us gaze above the sun. This is to move our thoughts into the realm of the spirit, the heavenly Kingdom of God. This is what God has planned for us—to be free from pursuit of the mundane, temporal and fleeting things found under the sun. His plan is for us to be his instruments—to promote his rule over his creation. We can see that Christians in this country, as well as in many others, have been blessed with much affluence. The question is what do we do about it? If we have an “above the sun” attitude, we will be able to see it as an unparalleled opportunity to pursue the interests of the kingdom of God who is above the sun. That is where our eternal treasures are to be stored. That is where our real master is found. That is what should always capture our eye. That is where we will enjoy the true blessings of God’s favour – in the realm that is above the sun

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