It’s easy to be known by what we’re against rather than what we’re for.
It doesn’t take much for the negative side of human nature to seize any statements about what we’re against. Just look at the website of your preferred news source—you’ll see it. Most headlines are stated in the negative:
- “President Trump hits a snag…”
- “The House lost…”
- “The Stalemate of the Senate…”
- “Parents outraged…”
- “Teens protested…”
- “Universities remove…”
And as Christians, we can also succumb to this “negative press” about our own beliefs. For example, are Christians “against homosexual marriage” or “for the Biblical model of marriage”? In one sense, its meaning is nearly the same thing when Christians state it. In another sense, these two phrases stand vastly apart in terms of approaching the world looking for an excuse to not believe in Jesus.
Ecclesiastes has been a journey in the seemingly unresolved tension of this question: what is the Teacher of Israel against and what is he for? In the final inspired words of Ecclesiastes we find this in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14:
13 Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (NIV)
Without living our lives for Jesus, we live meaningless, empty existences where we are one among the billions of nameless, faceless people who will start to be forgotten minutes after dying. This is why throughout Ecclesiastes King Solomon can so matter-of-factly state, “meaningless!” Without a connection to the divine, it is!
And so, at the end of the Teachers’ musings about the futility of power, wealth, sex, influence, and our name, it all boils down to “the conclusion of the matter”. Worshipping our Creator is the responsibility of all of us. That is what matters in our lives. And it is what will matter after this life is over.
The Teacher states the Biblical truth of this life: we will give an account for it before God. What we do with Jesus makes an eternal difference. That reality changes how we live today. The author of Hebrews understands this as well as he pens, “See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12, NIV).
Of all the things we might be against because God is against them, this we are for: loving God and keeping His commands.
We are for experiencing His presence in our lives.
We are for His transformation in our lives.
We are for us submitting ourselves in obedience to Him.
We are for telling our friends and neighbors of the purpose we have found in Him.
We are for loving Him with all our hearts, minds, and strength.
We are for loving others.
We are for Him.
What are you for?