Ecclesiastes and Fellowship

I really enjoyed our Progressive Dinner a few weeks ago and I kept thinking about my devotional, the purposes of fellowship, our upcoming camping trips, etc. Some verses from Ecclesiastes kept coming to mind, and I’d like to share them:

  • Ecc 2:24 Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God.
  • Ecc 3:12 I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, 13 and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.
  • Ecc 5:18 Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage.
  • Ecc 8:15 So I commended enjoyment, because a man has nothing better under the sun than to eat, drink, and be merry; for this will remain with him in his labor all the days of his life which God gives him under the sun.

Ecclesiastes can be a difficult book. Some people find it very discouraging while others find it very encouraging. However you view it, the theme seems to be nothing in this life satisfies. If you’re familiar with King Solomon’s life you can see why God chose him to write Ecclesiastes. He had everything the world says brings happiness. He tried everything you could try, tasted everything you could taste, experienced everything you could experience and not only did it not make him happy, he found it all to be vanity or hebel; a Hebrew word translated as meaningless, pointless, futile or frustration in other translations. Hebel is used 61 times in the Bible and 30 of those times are in Ecclesiastes…5 times just in chapter 1 verse 2. That’s why some people find the book discouraging, because it looks like everything leads to hebel.

Based on the verses I shared though there did seem to be something Solomon found satisfying – which is why some people find the book encouraging – and that’s eating, drinking, and enjoying our labor. Lasting contentment came from the simple things in life. To me that’s what the progressive dinner is about. That’s what fellowship is about. That’s what beach camp and family camp is about. It’s about eating and drinking with friends and family, brothers and sisters in Christ. The world tells us what’s necessary to be happy, but it’s all hebel. Lasting contentment and joy is found in the activities of life that are from the hand of God (Ecc 2:24). Hopefully these are the activities we’re providing at WCC.

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