Living with Mystery – Ecclesiastes 11:1-8

He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap. Eccl 11:4

As human beings, one of our favorite pass-times is thinking about things in our lives for which there are no answers on this side of eternity. Consider how much of your time is consumed wondering, “what if?” or “what might have been?” or “if only I had ______?” Whether in a season of want or plenty, we are all tempted to imagine, speculate, worry about, and mull over things in our life that we can never know entirely. As sportscasters who forecast the results of a game have no idea who ultimately will win until the game is played, so in life, we cannot know the outcome of a matter until we live it out. Even the wisest prognosticator cannot accurately project the outcome of life’s mysteries. At times such speculation and worry may even paralyze us from living our lives in the present. We see wind storms on the horizon which cause us to wring our hands in terror, as we worry about what the future might hold. But instead of worrying, the Preacher of Ecclesiastes, Qoheleth, instructs us that we ought to live our lives, not thinking about a forecast that we cannot know, but rather remaining steadfast in what we do know – namely our God-given calling and the joys of our present lot in life.

In Ecclesiastes chapter 11, Qoheleth uses the analogy of a farmer to illustrate the regular way that we are to live our lives in the midst of uncertainty and mystery. He instructs a balance between taking risks and living wisely. Storms come; winds blow; trees fall; things happen in life over which we have little or no control. It may at times seem as though we are subject to the forces of a blind fate; but this does not mean we should throw up our hand in fatalistic surrender. Instead of permitting fear of unknown to paralyze our minds with the prospect of future doom and failure, we ought to give our best effort into the lot that God has given us today. Because, while we may not know how things will turn out, God does; and He does not subject His children to be victims of blind fate. We may not know the plan of God, true, but we do know He is in control of everything; and He is working it together for our good (Romans 8:28). So precisely for the very reason that you do not know which of your efforts will prosper and which will not, you should take every opportunity to work the works of God boldly, while applying wisdom; and trust the results in the hands of an almighty God who will take care of you.

Read Matthew 25:14-30 where Jesus tells the parable of the talents. As you read it, take note how the one who puts what he has been given to best use, is the one who receives more; while the one who fails to use what little he has, finds even that taken from him. Is this fair? How can knowing this motivate your service for the kingdom?

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