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   According to the Bible,

   King Solomon declares:

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“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.”

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All things are wearisome

The eye is not satisfied with seeing,

Nor is the ear filled with hearing…

That which has been will be…

There is nothing new under the sun.”

   —Ecclesiastes 1:2, 8-9 (NASB)

 

   That was how the Bible study began at Shell Point a week ago.

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      The Bible lesson from the first chapter of Ecclesiastes was excellent. It set me thinking in a fresh way.

      Solomon had experienced “everything,” he says. And he’s bored. He’s never been a soldier yet he’s been declared the wisest man. Realize, however, even though this is a Bible passage, God is not speaking here! People can speak false things in the Bible. Satan, for example, is recorded to have quoted Scripture out of context, as he did to Eve and later to Jesus as He was tempted before His ministry.

   Solomon, despite his bluster, was not aware of everything—even though it appears that he could call for or take whatever he wanted. Yet to stand back and observe him, he “lived in a box” even though it seemed a glorious one to many around him.

   Much existed outside it, however.

   Take, for example, the “joy of restraint” which is often the better option, one more common to the poor who are good, and who creatively manage what they have, often ignoring the glitter of what questionably seems best. Jumping off the roof to try and catch the closest star is a fool’s errand. Better to carefully retreat back down the ladder. (There’s even some risk to that!)

   There’s a wisdom here that Solomon could never understand.

   An example from football comes to mind.

   In the distance a pass receiver who’s in the clear but close to the sidelines readies himself for the final play of the game. He must jump high to catch the ball—but come down in bounds and continue his run to the goal line. It’s difficult, risky, but doable.

   And he must catch and run in order to win.

   So he surrenders his comfortable freedom to step out of bounds and walk away.

   He’s not a spectator. The game isn’t everything, of course.

   But he’s a player and he doesn’t know much more than his game. But he’s prepared himself for this.

   So he catches, stays in bounds, and scores.

   Solomon would have declared that the sidelines were wider.

   And everyone else would be bored.