Gleanings – The Somber Reality

Ecclesiastes 3:16-4:3

“They all [men and beasts] have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts; for all in vanity.”

Solomon is bit dour with regard to the capacity of man. To be sure, he would not be at the top of your guest list for a birthday party, not even wake but perhaps a graveside service. Having said that, Solomon may be a proper antidote to our arrogance about the capacity of man. He may overstate the case when he says ALL is vanity but certainly much is.

It seems to me his vast experience has revealed that little changes “corporately.” Consequently one’s energy should be devoted to one’s work and a life in God. It seems to me that he would say that world peace is a noble goal and even something to be promoted. However, he would say abandon any unrealistic expectations that it would be achieved. Instead, he would say, live peaceably yourself.

Much of the age of Enlightenment had been spent believing in and attempting to build a utopian society. At home it has been the new deal and the great society. These grand visions may have been appropriate responses to a moment in time but they have no lasting value. And to the extent they create false hope they divert energy from its best use. Solomon would join me saying it is flight and fantasy to believe there will be one last war to end all wars. You would think World War II would have been enough to prove that premise false, Normandy would have shattered that dream.

Such somber reality does not leave me without hope. Routinely lives are being saved and wounds being healed.  I see His hands reaching. I see His Spirit transforming. And such has the power to change homes and even neighborhoods. Hmm. Perhaps there is hope for something utopian like. But grand schemes won’t achieve it. It cannot be legislated. If it comes, it will come in what God Almighty is doing one person at a time.

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