“We get only one chance to make the most of our calling.”
Life is No Joke, No Laughing Matter!
“Mourning motivates a person toward sober contemplation of his own mortality, which tends to affect the wellspring of our thoughts, words, and conduct effectively and positively. The wellspring of conduct is the heart, which is why “heart” is mentioned four times in these verses.”
Matthew 15:18-19 “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile a man. 19For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander.”
“Dr. Ernest Becker, made this telling comment, confirming what the Bible clearly states: “The idea of death, the fear of it, haunts the human animal like nothing else; it is the mainspring of human activity—activity designed largely to avoid the fatality of death, to overcome it by denying in some way that it is the final destiny for man”
Author Susan Sontag wrote, “Death is the obscene mystery, the ultimate affront, the thing that cannot be controlled. It can only be denied.” Our language of death clearly shows society’s attempts to soften, hide, or even deny it by using euphemisms, such as calling the dead person “the departed” or by saying that he “passed away” or “is not with us anymore.” This is done to avoid saying the words “death” or “dead.”
1 Corinthians 2:9-10 Rather, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him.” 10But God has revealed it to us by the Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11For who among men knows the thoughts of man except his own spirit within him? So too, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”
“God deals with it in His Word by showing that it is best for us to deal with it directly. This allows us to understand more fully that death is indeed the way of all flesh and to lay it to heart, shifting the balance of our thoughts about its reality toward more serious thinking on it.”
“God is saying that sorrow tends to make us better people.”
“Martin Luther also made an insightful observation on preparing for death: “It is good for us to invite death into our presence when it is still at a distance and not on the move.” The time to learn about rock climbing is not when hanging from the edge of a precipice but well before starting up the side of the cliff. It seems, though, that many do most things on the spur of the moment, a practice that is not good, especially concerning something like death that absolutely no one escapes.”
2 Corinthians 7:8-11 “(8) For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. (9) Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. (10) For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. (11) For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.”
2 Corinthians 7:10 “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.”
“The result of a parent disciplining a child in a timely manner and in appropriate measure is a good illustration. Is not some measure of pain and its accompanying sorrow inflicted? Proverbs frequently tells us to spank our children. Why? Is not it to produce the sorrow of separation from one who is loved to accomplish a change in attitude and behavior?
God is saying through Solomon, then, that sorrow—in a morally and ethically beneficial way in which laughter cannot—penetrates and influences the heart, the very center of our being and from which conduct flows. So important is godly sorrow that II Corinthians 7:10 states, “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.”
The second point Solomon touches on is that a person must prepare for his death (Ecclesiastes 7:1). That we will die is a reality. Especially during youth, we easily overlook the reality of approaching death as we focus on the present. More importantly, Ecclesiastes is written primarily for the benefit of the converted, which means we get only one chance to make the most of our calling. Thus, when we die, there is no changing our reputations from the reality of how they turned out to what they might have been. Proverbs 10:2 tells us bluntly, “Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, but righteousness delivers from death.”
The third element Solomon broaches is that we learn more from difficult times than from the times we would consider “good” (Ecclesiastes 7:2). We may not enjoy days of difficulty, but if we are seriously considering the consequences of our choices, we find that the difficult times force us to consider our ways and make corrections. “Fun,” on the other hand, influences us to remain as we are.
“For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.”
“The apostle Paul sharply charges us by his example in I Corinthians 9:26-27: “Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”
Acknowledgement and thanks to author John W. Ritenbaugh
What the Bible says about Preparing for Death
(From Forerunner Commentary)
Brother in Christ Jesus,
Lawrence Morra III
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