A man gains validation from his work - even saved Christian men. We want to see the fruits of our labor and not just from the number on our paycheck (after tax), but from where we have progressed....where we came from.
A woman, and correct me if I am wrong, gains validation from the quality of her relationships; the ability to multi-task and their nurturing instincts...as well as work, whether she is a career professional or a kind receptionist at your local dentist.
A few years ago, in the capitol city of Illinois, a twenty something young man took off from a well-known popular downtown Springfield bar (name withheld) after spending hours drinking on St. Patrick's Day. He was driving a menacing Lincoln Navigator and blew out of the parking lot, heading west on Jefferson Street at speeds of over 90 miles an hour! After running several traffic lights and endangering several other motorists, this man came down the hill (about 4 miles later) at such a speed, where a busy four lane city highway crossed, that he would have been unable to stop....even if he knew how.
After flying across the intersection, with all traffic stopped as they noticed this pending disaster, this guy hit a curb and went airborne for a long time. He came crash landing upside down in a huge dip right next to a then busy strip mall and died instantly. While his family was mourning yet another wasted young life, no one seems to have learned the lesson about the brevity and the beat goes on.
Year after year for seven years, I have evangelized intensely on the streets of Springfield. During the St. Patrick's day parade, I go up to the front of this same bar, where this man drank the final hours of his life away and tried to hand out gospel tracts to dazed drunks (with alcohol) or all ages (mostly young) who recoil at the sight of a harmless piece of paper. Yet it is this same piece of paper which carries a message they (and we) all need to hear.
Solomon wrote the following, at the end of HIS wasted life: All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return. Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth? So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot. Who can bring him to see what will be after him? (Ecclesiastes 3:20-22 ESV).
This is a sad commentary on his life and the lives of most alive today. The wisest man on earth did not know if a beast had a soul and seemed doubtful his own soul was heading up to be with the Lord. This is no different from those in pursuit of material happiness - whether men or women. Solomon's validation was in his work, which gave him the excuse and temporary release in extreme pleasure. More and more today are finding it in "working for the weekend" or working for that upcoming retirement or who knows what....when the meaningful life can only be found in a fulfilling walk with the Lord!
So what now? We see that Solomon knew how to blow it and why....and this young man in front of this famed city bar....and the teen who gets pregnant right before graduation....or the 51 year old grandma in the office having an affair with her car salesman....or....or....
Well, it would be better if we start taking stock of our lives right now - all of us. We may still have a few more quarters that we can plug into the parking meter of life, before time runs out. Each day is a day of grace and mercy that we are not standing before God in judgment. We still have time to make it right and so we won't have to ask "what now"? ....well....pray with me:
Father God, in the Name of Jesus, I come to you knowing that Life is so short and Eternity is a long time. Thank You for the lesson You provided us when Your Spirit allowed Solomon to write this passage into the Scriptures, that we may learn from his mistakes and apply these truths. Help us to know that we know that we know that our souls would either go UP to be with You or that those who reject You, will be made to depart from You forever. Help us to rejoice not in OUR work, but the WORK OF CHRIST on the Cross, Who gave all that we may have all - all this important, which is Eternal Life in Your Holy Presence! Lord we love You, adore You, worship You, surrender to You, ask forgiveness from You and seek You, even more now, that we know the days are both short and evil. Be with us this day and for as long as you gave us time on this earth, may we rejoice in You and glorify You to the praise and honor of Your Name, through Christ Jesus, our Lord, amen.
(images courtesy google)