Like many of you, I’ve been through several hurricanes - four to be exact - Andrew, Charlie, Wilma and most recently Irma. Never fun, but for me, Irma was by far the worst in terms of damage. I hope and pray we do not have another storm like Irma for a long time - not sure my back (from the work of the cleanup) or my pocket book (from the cost of the cleanup) can take another storm like that one.
Although the storm came in from the south and headed pretty much due north up through the state, I boarded up the windows on every side of my house - not just the south side of the house - the direction from which the storm was coming. Because of the circular movement of the storm, there was no telling which direction the wind would be coming from when it hit our home, so I did my best to protect every side of our home.
In Ecclesiastes 10, Solomon tells us “Just as you do not know the path of the wind... so you do not know the activity of God.” Earlier in Ecclesiastes, and in several places throughout the book, Solomon reminds us that the pursuit of wealth is futility - like striving after wind. Have you ever tried to catch the wind?
Solomon is reported to be both the wealthiest and the wisest man who ever lived. Anything money could buy, he bought it. Money was no object for him. Yet, it brought him no satisfaction - only futility.
Chip Ingram, in his book The Genius of Generosity, tells us “He (Solomon) wrote about the futility of it all...he tasted all of life and withheld nothing from himself and after that
he penned Ecclesiastes.”
From the very beginning of Ecclesiastes, Solomon says, “Vanities of vanity - all is vanity. What advantage does man have in all his work which he does under the sun?...All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them...I considered all my activities and all was vanity (futile) and striving after wind...So I hated life for the work which I had done under the sun was grievous to me...I hated all the fruit of my labor.”
In chapter 5 Solomon tells us that “He who loves money will not be satisfied.” And he concludes Ecclesiastes this way: “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is to fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to everyone.”
Chip Ingram adds this comment: “Wealth is not wrong. The Bible never forbids having a lot of money (being wealthy). The Bible does not condemn wealth; it condemns the pursuit of wealth and seeking fulfillment in it.”
Just as we do not know the direction of the wind, we do not know the activity of God. He promises to meet our every need - but we may not always know how He will do so. But will we still trust Him? What is God orchestrating in your life or in mine that we cannot yet see? What is He working on that is beyond our ability to perceive?
We don’t always know, but that is where trust and obedience to God come into play. God can and does orchestrate things far beyond our abilities to comprehend, and in ways that we are incapable of orchestrating on our own, yet He wants us to trust Him even though we cannot yet see. Yes, we must do our part - to faithfully participate and contribute to His work, though we may not yet know how He will provide or how He will put all the pieces together.
But yet He expects us to obey by faithfully contributing to His work to spread the Gospel - contributing to His work even though we may not yet see His provision or the outcome.
How? Some examples: 1) By supporting the ongoing financial needs of our church - even through (and perhaps especially through) this time of transition, 2) By supporting our missionaries through our Kingdom Missions fund, which may include some who are starting a work in a new and untested mission field, 3) By contributing to someone in need - perhaps through our Benevolence Fund, even though we may never see the fruit of our gift.
Where is God at work? We don’t always know, but trusting God and obeying God - that is our duty and responsibility before God. The pursuit of wealth is secondary and as Solomon says “is vanity - chasing after wind.”
More to come...
Do you have questions about managing your finances from a Biblical perspective?
For help and guidance feel free to call Kent Anderson at (239)596-8600 x254.