The Joy of Glory

Discovering endless joy in the boundless glory of God…

Tag: purpose

Lent Devotional: Ecclesiastes 4

Ecclesiastes 4 (click here)
Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them. And I thought the dead who are already dead more fortunate than the living who are still alive. But better than both is he who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 4:1-3)

Reflection
An honest assessment of the world we live in doesn’t give Solomon any hope of finding meaning. On the contrary, things seem more senseless than ever. The world is filled with evil and oppression…so much so that for many people he thinks it would have been better had they never been born. Even he, with all his riches and wisdom, is not powerful enough to permanently stem the tide of injustice.

Solomon recognizes that even the good done by one generation will be undone by the next. History teaches us that we are prone to repeat our follies. So again he cries out…all is vanity! Is there any hope for a world so full of injustice and senseless pain? Is there one who is both powerful enough and possessing the right resources to rid the world of injustice and fill it with righteousness?

If someone like that exists…they cannot be found “under the sun” where we see so many evil deeds. If someone who can save us exists, they will have to come to us…that would take extreme love. Is there anyone out there who loves us that much?

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

Lent Devotional: Ecclesiastes 2

Ecclesiastes 2
And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. (Ecclesiastes 2:10)

Then I said in my heart, “What happens to the fool will happen to me also. Why then have I been so very wise?” And I said in my heart that this also is vanity. For of the wise as of the fool there is no enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How the wise dies just like the fool! So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind. (Ecclesiastes 2:15-17)

Reflection
I…I…I…my…my…my… this is the mantra of Solomon and all too often it is the theme of my own life. You can almost hear the yearning of Solomon’s soul as he continues to seek satisfaction for himself, but perhaps satisfaction cannot be found when we are so self focused. As long as “I, I, I and my, my, my” remain the center of all we do it seems pretty clear that all will be vanity and chasing after the wind. For, no matter what we achieve, death will take it all away.

Solomon recognizes that everyone’s life (the wise or foolish, rich or poor, etc) ends the same way…death. All he does, all he accomplishes, will be gone in a moment. Death renders all his striving pointless…vain. So why try to achieve anything. What’s the point?

Maybe, just maybe, the meaning and purpose Solomon seeks can only be found outside himself. Perhaps we are not supposed to be the center of our own universe. Could there be something or SOMEONE around which our lives were designed to center…one who can even conquer death and fill our lives with meaning and satisfaction?

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

Letter #21: For His Glory!

Dear Jonathan,

This is my final “seminary” letter. I’m sure our conversations will continue for years to come, at least I hope they will, but after tomorrow you will be a seminary graduate…finally!

As you receive your diploma and walk away from the halls of academia, I wanted to leave you with one final reminder of the purpose behind it all. Over the past three years you have studied, lost sleep, spent time away from family, cried, laughed, made friends, been frustrated, disillusioned, elated, and yes…you have even bled (literally from what I hear)…what has been the point of it all?

ForHisGloryThe point has and always will be God’s glory!

You have not studied for yourself, but so that you might be equipped to make known to people the glory, the majesty, the beauty, the greatness, and the goodness of God! You have been searching the heights and depths of the love and grace of God in order to take others on a tour and show them the sights!

You have seen God’s glory in order to show it to others.

All of your education has been in service of the church. As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 1:24, you are to be working with people for their joy…and their joy is in Jesus! Do not lord your education over people, but use it humbly to point them toward the endless beauties of Jesus so that their joy may abound more and more.

I encourage you to hang your diploma somewhere no one will see it/notice it but you…perhaps in your closet. Why? So that it never serves as a means of boasting before others, but always as a humbling reminder to you of Luke 12:48, “…to whom much was given, of him much will be required…”

Jonathan, you have been given much. Seminary is such a gift…don’t waste it or destroy it with something as petty as pride!  Use it for the glory of God and the good of the Church! Help those who know Christ to further drink from him, the everlasting fountain. And, call out to those who are dying of thirst in the desert of this world. Sound the gospel call for them to come and drink from Jesus so that they may live evermore.

Everything you have done in seminary has been to the praise of God’s glorious grace! It has all been for the purpose of being equipped to point the world to true, everlasting joy in him!

The point has and always will be God’s glory!

Grace and Peace,

J

*To know/understand the premise behind these letters please click here.

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