One of the first passages of scripture I read in 2011 was from Ecclesiastes. Now, I have realized in the 7 years since I graduated from Bible College that I am no scholar. Where once I thrived on theological debate I now, often, will avoid it. But with that said, I feel that my most recent read of this wonderful book penned by Solomon was quite timely. It has occurred to me that it is quite contradictory to the “ideas” which I often find myself surrounded by. The ideas of toiling, pursuing trials and persecution and labouring for the Lord.
I grew up in a Christian home: a good Baptist home (insert strong fist swing here). I know the do’s and dont’s and would say that I have pretty good grasp on the bible and theology after four years of Bible College. Consequently, however, I feel that because of this God holds the bar high (for me). I feel like I will be punished if I don’t tithe 10%, be kind to my neighbor of go to church regularly and I often feel tempted to guilt because of enjoyment, especially when it comes to spending . If something needs to go it is usually spending on anything that involves enjoyment, relaxation or possession that is sacrificed – even having people over for a meal, which was a big discussion this year as my maternity leave ended and finances were an issue. Perhaps we should entertain less and spend less money on groceries?
[Many will have to read this with a grain of salt. Note: this is my personal belief and I don’t believe such for the rest of the population….oddly enough.]
I wrote these first paragraphs this morning while getting ready for church. Once at church I found the sermon, rather than convicting, quite AFFIRMING.
The sermon was on generosity and in a few days will be able to be accessed here. We give in many ways, we give our time, we give our money and we give our resources. All of which God has also given to us to enjoy during our earthly life. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not about let go of the reigns or anything but for a person that lived out of debilitating fear it was refreshing to read and hear that there is more to it than the charitable donations line equalling exactly 10% of my income line on my next tax return. And if I buy a smellier cheese to serve my guests or enjoy a little spa time, God is not going to strike me down on account of gluttony. If we are faithful with what we are given (meaning enjoying it as well as being generous with it) we will be rewarded.
“Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil – this is the gift of God. For he will no much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.”
– Ecclesiastes 5:18-20
So my list continues. I wouldn’t go so far as to call them resolutions but here are some things I plan to do in 2011:
Make cupcakes more often
Be still more
Wear liquid black eyeliner
Argue less, love more
Drink more wine
Eat more butter
Pray with purpose
Open my heart
Go out of my way
Wear pink when I want to wear black