Facts of the Matter

A weekly letter of encouragement and challenge to business and professional men and women
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Dear Colleagues,


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I awoke this morning a bit dismayed. I see myself ageing. Forgetting things. Slowing down. Wondering if my life has really accounted for much. And concerned that perhaps I might be morphing into a dithering, befuddled old codger whom youth walk around and look pastOr glance at with condescending indifference or pity.

I thought of my ageing aunt and uncle, who are now in their mid/late 80s. As I observe their struggle with physical pain, and the death of their peers, I am reminded of the bumper sticker, "Ageing aint for sissies." Its tough on them, this ageing thing. But you know, they are handling it with courageand with class.

So this morning, as I meditated through Ecclesiastes 3, Solomon brought some clarity to this thing we call "life":

Life has its seasons (1-8): "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die" (etc., etc.)

Behind it all, God has an eternal often fathomless plan (11a,c, 14a): "He has made everything beautiful in its timeyet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to endI know that everything God does will endure forever"

Amidst the mystery of life, with the imminence of death before him, man is to enjoy his lot and his assigned toil while he can (12, 13, 22): "I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil–this is the gift of GodSo I saw that there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work, because that is his lot. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?"

Ultimately all mankind will face Gods judgment (17a): "God will bring to judgment both the righteous and the wicked…" +

Perhaps a portion of the lyrics from that beloved old hymn, "Day by Day" apply here:

"Day by day and with each passing moment, strength I find to meet my trials here. Trusting in my Fathers wise bestowment, Ive no cause for worry for fear. He whose heart is kind beyond all measure gives unto each day what He deems best. Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure, mingling toil with peace and rest

"Help me then in every tribulation so to trust Thy promises, O Lord. That I lose not faiths sweet consolation offered me within Thy holy word. Help me Lord, when toil and trouble meeting, eer to take, as from a fathers hand, one by one, the days, the moments fleeting, till I reach the promised land."

+ In the New Testament, for the believer, judgment "has nothing to do with justification, which is credited to the Christian fully and forever through faith in Christ; instead, it refers to what we have done with our lives as Christians." (cf. 1 Cor. 2:11-15; 1 Cor. 5:10). Adapted from NIV Study Bible notes, page 1768

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