The WRITE Word
Y. M. Dozier
Intentional Interim Pastor, New Light, MCC
The Write Word for January 2014 is: LIFE (Ecclesiastes 9:7-10)
By the time you receive this message, we will probably be into the New Year. At this writing, however, 2013 is still with us. And as I think about what New Year’s message to share with you, I came across this writing by Tyler Connoley called “One life to live”.
As we enter a new year, many of us may choose to take at least a few moments to reflect upon where we have been, where we are now, and where we may be going next. In short, we reflect upon our lives. Because of the many untimely deaths that have touched my life in 2013, it is clearer to me than ever that tomorrow is not promised to anyone. And that assuming I have the luxury of procrastination (when it comes to my life choices) is not a realistic one. It is in this place of reflection, I share the following words with you (written in the first person by Tyler Connoley):
I’ve always like Qoholet, the “Teacher” of Ecclesiastes. I appreciate his honesty about the way the world works. He acknowledges that, sometimes, bad things happen to good people, and the bad people prosper at the expense of the good. He is a man who tried every pleasure the world had to offer, and found them all vanity, literally “like smoke”.
In this book, Qoholet doesn’t get bogged down in lofty theology, or preach a prosperity gospel that promises an easy life for the faithful. What he does focus on, what he promises, is that we can enjoy the time we have on this earth if we’re willing to accept what God gives us for today. His is a practical book, telling us how to get the most out of a world that often seems unfair and chaotic.
Ecclesiastes 9:7-10 is a pointed reminder to live in the present moment. Consider the words (Connoley’s translation):
Go to it then. Eat your food and enjoy it, and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already accepted what you have done. Always be dressed in white and never fail to anoint your head. Enjoy life with the one you love all the fleeting days of your allotted span here under the sun; for that is your lot while you live and labor here under the sun. Whatever work you find to do, do it with strength. For there is nothing of work, explanation, knowledge, or wisdom in the land of the dead where you will go.
These verses are an admonition from someone who has been-there-done-that and finally found the key to real happiness: Enjoy the things you have, instead of worrying about the things you don’t have; do what you do well, instead of wishing you had someone else’s talent.
The secondary message of this text is just as important: God accepts you as you are. Particularly for those of us who don’t conform to society’s norms, this can’t be said often enough. In a society that expects us all to be straight and gender-conforming, Qoholet says, “God has already accepted what you have done. Always be dressed in white and never fail to anoint your head with oil.” Love yourself, because God has already anointed you as a royal heir.
Food for Thought-
Qoholet says to eat and drink with joy. Carry yourself with dignity. Love with gusto. And do the best work you can. In short, enjoy the life God gave you, because it’s the only one you’ve got.