April 4, 2017

Wise Up!

This past week has been incredibly difficult. A seventh-grader at our local Adventist school died in a freak motorcycle accident. Just like that, he was gone; leaving his parents, his family, and our entire church and community devastated. When something like this happens, we’re all left muttering the same two things: “Why did this happen?” and “He was so young!” Statements, that as a counselor, I don’t have any wise answers for.

But, I know a guy . . .

What significant things have we done . . . for God?

When I was this young man’s age, someone my age (ahem, older) told me, “The older you get, the quicker time seems to pass.” It’s true! So I ask: What significant things have we done . . . for God?

To answer this question, the guy I know, Solomon, wrote the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes (my favorite). In chapter 3:1-8 he wrote some clear—and confusing—words about life, death, and, well, everything. To understand these eight verses, you have to read one verse from Ecclesiastes 12:13 (go ahead, read them).

Solomon recognized that a clear understanding of who we are is only informed by a clear understanding of who God is. He sums up the last part of chapter 3 in this statement: “So I told myself that God has set a time and a place for everything. He will judge everyone, both the wicked and the good” (verse 17, CEV[1]). He echoes this summary again in the last chapter of Ecclesiastes. Apparently, this is important.

So now that we understand that God is in charge, and one day He will judge all that we do, how does this information affect our lives? Simply put: we need to be busy doing God’s work on earth.

Next question: What specific work does God have for us? The brief answer: I don’t know! That’s between you and God. But I know God has three things for us to do:

Live life and enjoy it. Go on, live it up! Solomon makes it crystal clear that believers aren’t supposed to live in a bubble. We should be the happiest, most joyful people around. God wants us to enjoy our lives.

Share the good news of His love, grace, and salvation. We can do this day in and day out. Remember, if we’re Christians we’re not living for ourselves, but for God. So let’s make sure every day that we share with others what we’ve received from God, through Jesus. There’s no work on earth more important. We are God’s first and best plan for spreading the good news.

Make disciples. This is different from sharing Jesus’s love. Sharing His love is the first step. Then we have to help each other, in Jesus, to be the best we can be. The apostle Paul put it like this: “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught” (Col. 2:6, 7, NIV,[2] emphasis mine).

We have to help each other, in Jesus, to be the best we can be.

Solomon recognized the important work we have to do for God, and we must make the best use of the time God gives us. In fact, as this chapter ends, he concludes it with these summary statements:

We should live our lives in joyful contentment, where we are, who we are, and doing what God has given us to do (verses 12-15, 22).

God will judge each of us for what we’ve done (verse 17).

Solomon recognized that a clear understanding of who we are is informed by a clear understanding of who God is. The young man who passed away this week clearly understood that. He was preparing to be baptized and, in fact, earlier on the very day of his death, he had completed a Bible study and re-affirmed his decision to belong to Jesus. For him, the next thing he sees will be the face of His Savior, Jesus Christ.

What time is it? What are we doing with the time God has given us? I hope we are living to glorify God.

Know Jesus. Love Jesus. Share Jesus!

Omar Miranda is a counselor and writer, who lives with his family in unplain Plainville, Georgia.

[1] Scripture quotations identified CEV are from the Contemporary English Version. Copyright ã American Bible Society 1991, 1995. Used by permission.

[2] Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright ã 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.