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August 8 | Ecclesiastes 1:1-18


 

DAILY READING

 

REFLECTION


The More You Know

by Dan Kidd


Beginning in 1989, NBC channels had a public service campaign titled "The More You Know." Over the course of 48 seconds a celebrity would share a message about a topic like literacy, education, abuse awareness, exercise, having conversations with your kids--each punctuated with a pleasant little tune and the comet-trail star graphic, below the phrase "The More You Know." It's an interesting little phrase in that it's not a complete thought. The phrase has something of an invisible ellipses behind it. To complete the sentence, we might say something like "the more you know the better," or "... the wiser," or "... healthier"


I sincerely doubt that what Dr. Rosalyn Weinman (the senior executive behind the campaign) had in mind was something like "the more you know the more sorrowful and full of grief you'll be." But, as it turns out, this is a persistent theme throughout the book of Ecclesiastes, beginning with the very first chapter.


"Meaningless! Meaningless!”

says the Teacher (gather of listeners/collector of wise sayings).

“Utterly meaningless!

Everything is meaningless.”

This is not a particularly inspirational or energizing way to start a book. But this is an absolutely crucial word of wisdom for us: the pursuit of fulfillment--satisfaction--is allusive and disheartening. This is true even when the goal is as noble and righteous as wisdom. This sage, teacher-king testified centuries ago to a truth we hear time and time again. Though we have access to essentially every library in the world in the palms of our hands, we're increasingly suspicious of it and burdened by it. Heavy is the head that wears the crown. The wealthy bemoan the cost of their wealth, aptly put by the Notorious B.I.G., "Mo money, mo problems." Despite achieving the apex of fame, power, athleticism, or talent, over and again we hear that these things bring no true satisfaction.


Ecclesiastes yearns for a solution to the dissatisfying way of the world. And if we had to settle for only what we see in the world--that is, if we did not have the hope of Christ who makes all things new and dead things live again--this would all be rather meaningless, vain, and vapory. But because Christ has defeated sin, death, and devil, and because God's Kingdom is at hand, we can live not in dissatisfaction but in gratitude. We can live according to God's purposes for us rather than despairing over meaninglessness. Whenever the world seems wispy and vaporous, we can breathe in the life-giving breath of the Spirit--the pneuma--of God.


PRAYER

Lord, we pray that you would save us from meaningless and empty pursuits. When we long for satisfaction, turn our eyes to yourself, your love, and guide our hearts into gratitude. Give us your heart for those around us who long for meaning and something of real substance, and let us be a witness to you. Thank you for revealing yourself to us and for the hope and pleasure of your Kingdom.














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Judy Webb
Judy Webb
08 aug. 2023

Dan, I love this. Your way with words and the idea that even when everything is meaningless to us, God is there and He is the only real meaning we need. Thank you for this morning' devotion. -- Judy

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