The “Teacher” vs. Jesus • Wisdom Ep. 4

[Music] As you read through the Book of Ecclesiastes you're letting the teacher Dismantle your perspective about reality And it isn't Pleasant at the conclusion Of the book the author says about the Teacher the the teacher's words are like A goad at the end of a Shepherd staff Sometimes they would sharpen it to a Point it's basically saying it's like a Sharp pointy stick and he's jabbing you Why read a book like this why put it in The Bible the whole reason why we're Being exposed to teachers words is the Author thinks this is a really important Exercise to have our Illusions Dismantled in order to do this the Author brings up three main points over And over the first is death there are Moments in life here under the sun where It's hard to see if humans are any Different than animals and death is one Of those this second somber drum he Sounds is the steady March of time what Does all of our striving and energy Really produce because our life is hevel It's here today gone tomorrow and Finally the great equalizer the Randomness of life itself chance death Time and chance Just really have a way of putting a wet Blanket on your life amidst these cruel Realities the teacher also brings a Surprising optimistic warmth for the

Teacher acknowledging our Frailty or Mortality our lack of control is the Silver Bullet for coming to enjoy your Life there's a beauty and a gift and a Goodness to things that because I cannot Control them and because they're not Guaranteed and at the end of the book The author speaks up and tells us we Must still fear the lord even though my Every deed hidden good or evil it may Not have a guaranteed outcome in my Lifetime I am still accountable for it The pointy painful and promising wisdom Of Ecclesiastes here we go [Applause] [Music] Ahead Try my best Hush little one Hush Hush little ones in My head Foreign So one of the main purposes of the Teacher is to Target and Dismantle all of the ways that people Try to find meaning or generate purpose In their lives with things that Ultimately can never give you meaning or Purpose that's not a very nice thing to Do no no it really you almost like Coconut a female on his face where he is Like oh you think your career is gonna Make you happy all right let's talk About your career yeah and how you know It's going to give you stress and

Anxiety and make you die of old age and Then you pass on all your work when you Retire to people who don't care about Anything you did he finds joy in yeah I Mean people's bubbles it does yeah you Think you know the weekend Parties are gonna make you happy you Think people honoring you and giving you Status and you just isn't a guy you'd Want to hang out with really because You'd be like oh man I had such a great Weekend he'd be like yeah but did it Really matter Does it I mean You're gonna die right you're gonna die And Was it really worth the ulcers and the Sleepless nights and uh Monday always Comes no matter whether you went to heat Tahiti or So where where when we talked about Proverbs being personified we were like You want this person as a friend you Want to go to her and ask your questions Yeah right and it sounds like this Person like you want to check in every Once in a while but for the most part You're like oh you see him coming Towards you and you're like Duck the Other way But put it on your calendar to check in That's right once or twice a year it's a Reality check yeah yeah it's interesting Uh at the conclusion of the book the

Author says about the teacher That the teacher's words are like a goad It's like uh at the end of a Shepherd Staff sometimes they would sharpen it to A point yeah Um it's basically saying it's like a Sharp pointy stick and he's jabbing you With the words so the book itself is Calling his teachings a sharp a pointy Stick it's a sock in the gut so yeah That's how it feels but but the whole Reason why we're being exposed to the Teacher's words is the author thinks This is a really important exercise To have our Illusions uh dismantled And so the main way you know the the Teacher will go through all these topics You know work career relationships Um pleasure and he's gonna he has two Main sets of ammunition to explode your Bubbles Uh the first one happens right in the Opening poem right in chapter one Um and it's the the endless March of Time that results in death for everyone There's a great poem about like look at A river you know it just goes and Flows out to the Sea And it never stops and the sea is Never Full but the C doesn't fill up yeah and Then the mountains that generate all of The you know snow that becomes the water Like the thing's been there forever and It's gonna be there long after you

And uh I always think of it Um in Portland I grew up and now still Live on Hawthorne Boulevard which is Becomes somehow like Used Secondhand clothing Central Central of Portland clothing scene yeah so and but At the top of Hawthorne it's epic is an Old volcano called Mount Tabor it's one Of the biggest parks in the city And the image that comes to my mind is Think how many fashion trends Mount Tabor has seen come and go over the Decades you know of like bell bottoms And then pleated slacks And then uh you know skinnies and then Bell bottoms again or whatever now it's Just whatever Define your own fashion But like Mount tabor's never changed Like I mean it has in the long long the Stream of fashion has changed but that's Right it never fills up yeah so that's This vision of human existence is all This flurry and activity But the world in which we live it's Steady but it's here long before us and It'll be here long after we die and so What does all of our striving and energy Really produce because our life is hevel It's here today gone tomorrow with that Opening poem then he just has this Ceaseless drum of we're all gonna die We're all gonna die yeah some of the Lines are classic and actually kind of

Scandalous to find them in the Bible so Here's one from chapter three As for humans God tests them or examines them so the The humans might come to see that they Are like the animals Surely the fate of human beings is like That of the animals the same fate awaits Them both one dies and so does the other They all have the same breath humans Don't really have an advantage over Animals because everything's hevel they All go to the same place from the dust And return to the dust and then he says This this he says who knows if the human Spirit even Rises upward or the spirit Of the animal goes down into the Earth Yeah Really dark right and and it throws a Lot of Doubt into things that we've Learned about the image of God and what That there's there's something more or More than just animals yes yes that's Right that's right does he not have that Perspective or is he just getting into a Really dark place at the moment Uh I I I think it's I think it's the Latter Yeah I think and again remember they Have to there's the teacher's voice Right and then the teacher's voice is Mediated to us through the author's Voice Who really does believe humans are

Unique and that there is a future beyond Death but Um the point is that there are moments In life here under the sun where it's Hard to see If humans are any different than animals And death is one of those you look at Death and you just go man Everybody dies yeah like I see Roadkill On the street and then I look at a Graveyard and then I see in the Graveyard The Jerk the wealthy arrogant Person the really kind generous man and The woman who gave her life away to her Friends and you know and you go look They all ended up dead It's heavily Hmm it's the great equalizer and who Knows if the human Spirit Rises upward What does he what does he mean there Yeah yeah there's been a lot of debate About this in chapter 3 verse 21. I Think his point is We can see all living creatures animal Or human go to the dirt And we don't have any concrete proof he Says of what happens after that right so Do humans have some postmortem advantage Over the possum roadkill right you know He says like who knows you can't prove It yeah I think that's what he's saying So I I we haven't really talked about This you know As a follower of Jesus

This isn't the last book of the Bible For me right you know and my world my Whole world is built on the claim of the Apostles that Jesus rose from the dead So that puts this kind of line into a Bigger context for me and I hear that Line differently than you know somebody Uh than the teacher but I think for his Point he's just saying look at the Evidence where does the evidence lead You everybody dies if everybody dies Regardless of what kind of Life they Lived what evidence do you have that Humans have anything better going for Them after death yeah and that's an Honest like that's honest yeah Ecclesiastes is very honest yeah even if You believe in the resurrection of Jesus And the Future Hope for the world that's Still you can't deny or you shouldn't Deny that you've felt that feel that Same feeling before like really is this Really true [Music] Thank you foreign [Music] Necessarily but I think it's interesting that we're in a Time in Houston human history where we Have a perception of time that's very Different Than any other generation like we think In billions of years which it's hard to Do I mean I don't successfully think in

Billions of years but but like we have These geological and formation of Galaxy Like timetables yeah like we could Chase Back what we understand about how Physics works and we can chase We can see how all elements are moving Away from each other in space and at the Rate they're doing that you rewind the Clock and you get to this point where it Must have all been compacted into one Space some 14.5 billion years ago yeah And then they have a number based off The math yeah and then you could do the Same thing you can go forward billions Of years and we can know in X billions Of years uh the sun will die our sun Will die yeah if if the teacher Understood that I guess it would be the Same sentiment I think it would be he he Wouldn't say hey nothing never changes He would say for the most part in our Existence nothing's going to change but Then if we look at the grand scheme of Things not only are we going to die the Sun is gonna die yeah the universe is Gonna die yeah so even if you figure out How to live thousands of years or Hundreds of thousands of years or a Billion years somehow you figured that Out a good job Ray kurzwell or something You figured it out the sun is still Gonna die yes and and at some point this Entire universe is moving at such a pace That I think physicists think that it's

Just going to end with everything Getting cold and just falling apart and There being no energy left yes I think For the teacher yeah this is 2500 years Ago so he's basing himself off of a Tradition that for him I was probably You know thousands of years old by his Time too of observation of the natural World and how things work yeah I think His point is from limit advantage point Nature is just this kind of steady Cycling thing and compared to humans It's just yeah compared to humans it's a Steady March of time but what he didn't Realize is even that sure has an Expiration date yes got it the mountains Won't be here but even think about what You just said like modern physics does Show us like galaxies form from Stardust And Combust It's just like it's like the river never Fills up the ocean the Stardust just Keeps recycling into You know galaxies and so on the yes on The like 14.5 billion year timeline There's a beginning and there's an end Or whatever but yeah in terms of but Anywhere the way the universe anytime Within that it's true just the same Stuff like a star the hydrogen will all Form from gravity and create a star the Star will grow it'll start to create all These other elements in it and then

Eventually it'll explode yeah and that Stardust will turn into planets and Different things and then another star Will form yeah and then those will orbit Around it like you could actually you Could write Ecclesiastes one a version Of it yeah and like with that language And vocabulary and still make the same Point it's like but humans what like What are we yeah I think it's Interesting I I just always get really Fascinated thinking at those time scales Even if you don't want to think in Billions of years you just want to think In tens of thousands of years or I don't Know how long takes but these mountains That he's talking about that have always Been there yeah that's why I haven't They haven't always been there and That's right mountains are gonna get Leveled out by wind and then eventually New Mountains will form when new Tectonic plates slam into each other Slowly over thousands of years [Music] That's so crazy it's totally crazy and Then here we are building houses on Cliffs near the ocean [Laughter] Where yeah we're like hey this is gonna Last forever It's Gonna Last for like Another 100 years and then it's gonna Fall apart yes and we both have young Toddler boys so we're both outside in

The dirt a lot I imagine and uh So I'm outside playing with my sons in The dirt you know and we find a group of Ants or something yeah right and that's My observation of them is like all this Flurry of activity but they're ant hills Decimated by my son accidentally Stepping on it right you know or the Next rainstorm yeah And uh but from yeah like a g a lot from The Viewpoint of the last ice age or Whatever that's like our entire Civilization yeah is is like that and That's his point That's his point that's his point you Know he says hey look the mountains last Forever little does he know they're not Yeah and you can even say death is the Great equalizer even the mountains will Die yeah yeah that's right and even if He's like and the sun will be there Forever then we would go actually no the Sun is gonna die yeah which might would Probably freak the teacher out but then He would say exactly see my point yeah It fueled it was fire You're just proving my point yeah yeah He'd get along great right now so so That's his first one uh it makes the Part of what makes the book uh really Humbling or depressing on some read Throughs it's just he's constantly Talking about death from the opening Poem to the very last poem in chapter 11

Going on into 12 and he has this whole Poem about aging About your final years as an aging human And how well you're young make the best Of it because the days are coming and Uses all these metaphors where the Grinders enjoy the moment the grinder Season and the the windows don't show Light anymore your body just stops Working yeah he says that too makes all Your years of Youth and enjoyment feel Like heavily because those years can go On forever and you're miserable another Uh thing that the teacher really enjoy Is bringing up this happens a number of Times is this focus on uh chance what he Calls a chance so for example this is my Favorite one in chapter 9 verse 11. he Says here's something else I've seen Under the Sun that's a common theme He'll just be talking and then it'll say Here's something else I've seen yeah and Then he says this the race doesn't Belong to the Swift Or the battle to the strong Nor does food come to the wise or wealth To the brilliant or favor to the Learned But time and chance happen to the ball Yeah He's so welcome So his whole point is again think Proverbs Yeah no don't lean on your own Understanding commit your ways to the

Lord be wise You know life is too random yeah you Have no idea this whole point is you can You can never guarantee yeah and and the Fact that you can't guarantee it doesn't Therefore mean that God isn't good or That God's a jerk it just means that God Has ways of working or orchestrating Things or allowing things you know that Uh that don't fit the Proverbs equation And so you're just gonna have to reckon With that otherwise you're setting Yourself up for a fall so uh so he'll Run this through he'll say you know There'll be a guy who uh works his whole Career really hard and he gets to enjoy His wealth in his old age but then You'll get a guy who works his whole Life and he says it's sleepless nights Anxiety and stress then he has to leave It all in retirement to some young Person who doesn't care at all and he's Like and what's Like they both work just as hard so it's That glitch in the system that we've Talked about already yeah so like if Life was fair and you took two people Who worked just as hard and they made The the same right decisions that life Should go the same for them both equally As well but the reality is that life is So Random you said this guy in One Direction and this guy in the right Direction and they both

Do the same things right one guy could Become a multi-millionaire and have the Gift to enjoy it and then another guy Could end up Miserable and Have lost everything or have money but It's drove him into depression And that's not fair Because he didn't do anything different That's right that's exactly right So Um and again his point yeah his point There is just to again to deconstruct Your expectations And to help you Reckon with how life actually is here Under the Sun so death time and chance Just death time and chance really have a Way of putting a wet blanket on your Life the march of time yes everything Will die You know and you have no control yeah The chance thing is really like Stop pretending you have control that's Really it that's exactly right [Music] [Music] Oh Foreign One might uh Walk away from Ecclesiastes going why Did I ever read Proverbs You know like what's the point then and Then uh

Here the teacher just surprises you Where on a handful of occasions he'll Come and say you know still though being A wise moral person fearing God you Should still do that but though by the Way Um so he'll say like wisdom being wise Making wise decisions Um that actually is good life will Probably be a little bit more enjoyable Before you for you if you're wise right Um And you can prolong your life Uh you're increasing your odds you're Increasing your odds you don't have you Still don't have control no guarantees No guarantees but better odds better Odds you're playing the odds yeah yeah So he says you know be wise but don't Try and stake everything on being wise He says in chapter seven be righteous And be a moral person with Integrity but Don't stake everything on that don't Stake everything on that I remember that Verse that the way it's phrased it Almost makes it sound like you shouldn't He's saying don't don't try to be overly Righteous right yep yeah that's it yes Um and you're like overly righteous yeah Don't that's exactly what my Sunday School teacher wants me Yeah look what he says listen chapter 7 Verse 16 don't be overly righteous Nor be overly wise

Why should you destroy yourself takes a Lot of effort to be such a good moral Person but also don't be overly Wicked And certainly don't be a fool because Why should you die young Now do we need to take this all with a Grain of salt because he's in his dark Place or look at his conclusion he said It's good to grasp the one and not let Go of the other and the one who fears God will avoid all extremes So if you fear God you will avoid being Overly Wicked that makes sense but Fearing God will also make you avoid Allow you to avoid being overly right Truly righteous yeah it sounds odd to Say it but I think it in the context of The book you can sort out what he's Saying is use it's good to be righteous It's good to strive to live a good Upright moral life but something happens When that's my sole focus and mindset Especially if you know on the misreading Of Proverbs that says oh if I just live Like this then plug in the formula God's Gonna shower wealth and blessing on me From Heaven he has to because I'm doing The right thing yeah that's what I think That's what he's talking about overly Righteous so an example would be someone Who comes to you and says I did this Right I did this right I did this right I'm doing this right yeah and I'm still Not enjoying this and that God hasn't

Hooked me up with this and and you would Say to that person you're you're being Overly righteous maybe no I think that's What it means yeah like maybe in a Pastoral setting it's someone who's Having a crisis of Faith because You know they they didn't get the Promotion and they've been working so Hard and telling the truth and they've Been sharing with their co-workers about Jesus and they've been praying and they Serve at church and why didn't God hook Me up I really you know like we all Uh it's very easy for religious people To get into that mindset very quickly When things go wrong yeah you start to Think about all the things you've been Trying to do right yeah and like why Couldn't God come through but as a Pastor you wouldn't go to that person And say okay well why don't you go and Um you know go hang out at a strip club For a while and like level it out a Little bit you're being a little too Righteous that's not the point that's Not the point the point is you've found Yourself in a mindset where you believe That God owes you Something because of your attempts to Live a good life And that simply living that way will Guarantee positive outcomes for me I I Have a very black and white thinking so It's like there's a right and the wrong

So any decision you can make there's the Right thing to do there's the wrong Thing to do and I can get paralyzed by That and um and of course I'm not always Sometimes I'm just like I'm gonna do the Wrong thing I'm just gonna whatever but Like but when I am trying to do the Right thing that becomes kind of it Becomes paralyzing sometimes because you Can't always know what the right thing Is I guess that's a point where it's Just like okay let yourself off the hook Maybe this is right maybe this is not But if I obsess about it too much I'm Just being overly righteous would that Be a good example yeah I I think he's Talking about a my a mindset I don't Think he's talking about being a moral Person full of integrity For the Long Haul Is a is a bad idea right that's what He's saying but I think he's saying There's a mindset you get yourself into Where you Um think that that's Going to guarantee certain results in Life yeah and his whole point is man I've seen righteous people die and Wicked people die it's like don't Overestimate yeah or maybe a key is your Own abilities there's a difference in His the way he phrases it there's a Difference between overly righteous and Overly wise and fearing the Lord so like

You can that's right that's exactly Right you can if you could be overly Righteous and not be fearing the Lord Yeah that's a good point yeah it's a Good point John That's a good observation still fear God And be wise yes that's right you can Overdo it You can underdo it you can under do it But the key is to fear God which I guess Begs the question for us to have a Discussion about what does that mean Because in my mind that's synonymous With being righteous in some way or at Least it seems like being righteous is Is an outcome of fearing God yeah it Totally is it's uh as we talked about in Proverbs it's a moral mindset yeah it's A mindset that acknowledges that there Is such a thing as right and wrong and That I need to honor those boundary Lines yeah in life and in the universe And my behavior And so that even when I don't want to do The right thing I'll do it anyway Because I know that I'm not God and I Fear God There's a reverence and awe that I don't Get to redefine good and evil so I mean The teacher says like that's a good Thing yeah that'll that's going to save You a lot of trouble yeah but what it Won't do is guarantee you success overly Righteous it could mean a mindset but

Could it also mean Sometimes you just gotta cut yourself Some slack ah like God God loves you And you're not going to do everything Right And every once in a while there's gonna Be that moment you're like I know this Is the right thing to do I just can't And for you to go you know what there's Some there's some wisdom I feel like God's okay with me not Taking this problem on or not Um yeah that's interesting letting this One pass And I know I know if someone came up to Me and said John why did you let that Pass like that wasn't the right thing to Do I'd be like yeah you're right that Was I I just didn't have any more energy I was tired Um I know that person uh over there now is Gonna Uh have it worse because of that but Um I was gonna drive myself crazy if I Tried to try to be the hero is it don't Try to be the hero It's really interesting it's personal Too uh yeah I think the Messiah complex Yeah yeah no uh there's a lot of Scenarios you know what comes to my mind Is just personal experiences in church Local church leadership but just Leadership in anything

Um being a part of a leadership team or An individual leading something well Yeah you you get faced with decisions Where there is no great decision there's Just uh well that's probably the best Option available and it's better than The other one right but neither one is Like the great decision yeah for what You would hope and then you do it and You wish it could be different but you Don't have any control right and there's Well here's another example really Interesting I think I can't remember What this is called but there's this Peridot or there's this dilemma it has a Name Um hopefully I could describe it well But basically if you knew if you came up To me and said John I'm gonna die Tomorrow I just need 10 bucks and I said Sorry I'm like morally that's that's not Righteous right I can give up 10 bucks To make sure that you survive another Day That you extrapolate that out and there Are a thousand people somewhere in this World and organizations trying to serve Them that if I gave 10 bucks I would Save their lives So what's the difference between me Saying no Tim I'm not giving you 10 Bucks see you in the afterlife and Me saying no to these organizations and

Then you extrapolate that out and why Should I ever shop at New Seasons or why Should I ever go have a nice meal or why Should I ever do anything and at that Point it's like yeah that makes sense But Um you really how do you live that way What the scenario you just painted plus The leadership scenario plus the hero Complex Um might be somewhere in there yeah I Know I think we're in that same ballpark Of Uh do your best live a righteous life Yes care about people and try to help The world Um yeah because notice what he says is That over righteousness and over wisdom Of being overly wise will destroy you It'll destroy you that's his that's his And then he says being overly Wicked and Super foolish will you'll die young yeah Yeah his whole point it seems like There's so much good that needs to be Done in the world if you try and do it All you'll just destroy yourself yeah And you need to leave some room too and He talks about this later just enjoy yes Your wife enjoy your some food enjoy Like you're just yeah it's almost like The if you're gonna humble yourself and Recognize your Frailty and mortality so You can't figure everything out there's Also this balance of recognizing your

Frailty and mortality you can't solve Everybody's problems in the world and God's not going to hold you accountable For that uh you are responsible to do What's in front of you you know fear God Because I like to do the right thing I Know yeah yes I think I think many People do yeah maybe even most people Want to do that thing they want to be an Admirable person make wise decisions Have things go well for them have things Go well for others make a difference in The world I do think there are some People temperament wise who obsess over That yeah for that's a bit that's a hang Up for them a point of constant stress For them just fear the lord yeah Jessica my wife Jessica has an amazingly Generous Heart and something about just Seeing homeless people around the city Yeah messes with her yeah so she used This image one time where what she Wishes is that she could just be Throwing plates of food and money out The window of the car she drove you know Through downtown And making spaghetti dinners you know That she's just giving it away as we Drive along like just that like that's What She's constantly she's feeling that She's being tortured wow when she drives Around the city that's how she feels and Yeah we were just processing that

Because I'm aware of those people and Their circumstances too yeah we walk by A crew of them every yeah yeah that's Right and I'm very aware of them but That but we have a different emotional Response yeah and I think there are some People for him just hardship and Suffering in the world makes them feel Extremely anxious that they are not the Ones Solving that problem right and I think His point is like you can solve help Solve some problems yeah it's good that You feel that way it's empathy but You'll destroy yourself if you I'm Trying to try and act on every one of Those feelings or every time or let it Drive you into a miserable State of Consciousness yeah [Music] [Applause] [Music] [Music] What are we supposed to do with all of This death march of Time Chance be wise But no guarantees yeah So that all seems like it's setting you Up to be an agnostic right or a Relativist or like right you know and to Me what's Most Fascinating about this is For the teacher it's exactly the Opposite for the teacher acknowledging Our Frailty or mortality our lack of Control is the Silver Bullet

For coming to enjoy your life yeah Um and that's very non-intuitive for Westerners I think not at all and I I Feel like I want to talk about this Because I want this to sink in for me Uh because I love this sentiment there's The Carpe Diem seize the day yeah There's this you know it's in Vogue Right now with like Meditation and just you know don't Obsess about your thoughts just kind of Enjoy your breath and like just be Present and I think there's some Something here that seems to overlap With that uh I think so too Yeah uh this is one of those points Where we Are reminded that the the Bible is a Eastern document Yeah from West modern westerners point Of view right right America and Europe It didn't pop up in Enlightenment Europe Yeah it's a very much a Eastern Uh mindset and mentality and so this is One of them there's uh six different Times where you're on a downhill slope In some poem or something essay of the Teacher and he's like meaningless hevel You're gonna die it's all you know and Then I'll he'll just stop and he'll say So enjoy your life yeah go have a drink With a friend enjoy your wife if you're Married eat a good meal you know what You're like wait a minute so my favorite

One is in chapter five here Um chapter five verse 15. he says Everyone comes naked from their mother's Womb and never as everyone comes so you Depart they take nothing from their toil That they can carry in their hands this Is a grievous Evil all their days they Eat in darkness with great frustration Affliction and anger who's eating in Darkness I'm dead people Who work hard but you can't take any of It with you so all of your days you're Working you're working to generate Wealth wealth and you eat in darkness And you're frustrated and you're angry So you and then you die why are you Eating in darkness I think that's just His description of a bad week at work Okay yeah you worked late you're eating By yourself everyone went home And then you die and then you die in the Same exact way you were born it's like So screwed up you yeah and then and then His next sentence is so here's what's Good it's appropriate for a person to Eat drink and Define satisfaction in Their toilsome labor Under the Sun During the few days of your life that God's given them because that's your law So somehow recognizing I'm frail and Mortal I can't take any of this with me But somehow in there is something good And I I find a good meal and a drink and Some degree of satisfaction in this work

That I that has no Eternal significance As far as I can tell today Huh So somewhere in there let's paint the Portrait again you're you're late at Work you just had a horrible day I mean Someone chewed you out you had you Chewed someone out like a sale fell Through like all these things and now You're late you're trying to clean it up You're missing an event that your Family's at you really wanted to go to You're tired and you skipped lunch but You still don't have time to eat so You're just slamming something from the Like cafeteria that's gross yeah while You're trying to plug through some Emails wishing you were home and it Feels miserable and then he says stop For a second and just enjoy that moment Because that's your lot and it might Feel miserable but this is life you're Doing it like this is enjoy that food Enjoy this next breath and then do that Email and enjoy the fact that you had One of the worst days of your month and Then move on is that kind of what he's Saying I think that's what he's saying Yes he's very Zen it's super Zen that's Really surprising six different times You have a moment like this chapter Eight here's something else that's Heavil on the earth righteous people get What Wicked is the wicked people deserve

And the wicked people get what righteous People deserve this is heavil I say so Here's what I commend go enjoy your life Because there's nothing better for a Person under the sun to eat and drink And be glad then Joy will accompany them In all their toil the days of life that God's given them yeah so the whole point Is like things don't always work out in Life and you can't do a thing about it And somehow there's a release there that Enables you to go have a drink with your Friends and people you love and to just Acknowledge the fact this tastes good Yeah and I have good I have these and These people care about me care about me And I have no control over any of this Yeah I think think that's and everything Else right now is falling apart but this Yeah glass of whatever yeah it's great And yeah so there's something there's a Gift He calls it the gift of God in coming to Terms with my inability to control Um basically all my life circumstances Um I love that there this is in the Judeo-christian tradition like hidden Here in this book is like something that Feels very kind of Buddhist or something It's like hey no this is this is real Like you're gonna have to do this enjoy Take a breath yeah it's interesting you Know I'm not you know I've only Um other than talking with friends you

Know or acquaintances who were Buddhist And reading some introduction to world Religions Um it'd be interesting to see what's the Real overlap yeah what is the real and Then what's because I don't know either And then what's the difference you know I think um I think from a a classical Buddhist point of view it would be I'm Trying to lose any sense of my own Individuality or will oh sure and allow My Consciousness to be absorbed into the Ones of the universe and that allows me To be detached for many of my life Circumstances or having emotions Emotional responses to them I think That's the basic idea that sounds Familiar Um whereas I think for the teacher he's Like actually be even more centered in That emotion yeah because this whole Point is getting angry like God's in Control you know like God's doing this I Just can't figure out what that I'm not God and so I it's this place of fear of Humility before God And giving up control to a person who I Don't always understand yeah but I have To learn how to trust and I just have to Reckon that I don't have control and Somehow I I can see my life as a gift From God yeah even if it sucks it So see I think about what he means here There's a beauty and a gift and a

Goodness to things that because I cannot Control them and because they're not Guaranteed I think that's what he's Saying so There's a beauty because you can't Control it or a beauty in spite of the Fact that you can't control oh whose Point is you can't control what your Work day or your career produces so Enjoy whatever it is that you get out of It yeah and the fact that you're in Spite of enjoy it yeah in spite of in Spite of the fact I suppose that's for Difficult things right and then there Are other things like he says like a Good meal or a drink or a friend enjoy It for what it is you enjoy it because You're not guaranteed a best friend in Life and you're not guaranteed to live In a place where there's good craft Breweries around to enjoy a good beer But when you get one enjoy it it just is Here it is I'm here right now enjoying This And there's a beauty to things that you Can't control [Applause] Foreign Pascal who was I don't Know when he lived all I've read is the Ponce is by him anyhow he has this Profound quote that's one of his Thoughts in Ponce is and it's to me it Summarizes so much of what the teacher

Is trying to say He says uh we're never satisfied with The present We anticipate the future is too slow and Coming as if we can hasten its course or We recall the past to stop its too rapid Flight We are so unwise that we wander about in Times which are not ours and do not Think of the only time which actually Belongs to us We are so idle that we dream of those Times which are no more and we Thoughtlessly Overlook the only time That exists Because the present is generally painful To us So we conceal it from our side because It troubles us And if it happens to be delightful to us We regret to see it pass away We try to sustain it by the future And try to control matters which are not In our power Preparing ourselves for a time that we Have no certainty of reaching So we should each examine our thoughts And we'll find that they are all Occupied with either the past or the Future yes scarcely ever think of the Present and when we do it is only to Take light from it to arrange the future Present is never our end The past and the present are our means

The future alone is our end and so we Truly never live But rather hope to live And as we are always preparing to be Happy it is inevitable that we should Never be so Whoa That was well put oh dude that's it That's probably one of the best Submarines of Ecclesiastes I've ever Read I mean he's basically making a case For living in the present Not being obsessed with trying to Control the future Or just living in the past yeah or Create an illusion of happiness That we don't have anymore So so would you say and you think is a Good summer Ecclesiastes so you think That a good summer Ecclesiastes is how To live in the present oh um maybe I Should say I think it's the best summary Of the teacher the teacher and Ecclesiastes yeah that I've come across Again because the teacher is the bulk of The book right but the author is Bringing him yeah so that you can yes Yeah consider it I think that's right Yes so uh being in the present and Viewing what's right in front of me Seeing its giftness its goodness Six different times it's not a long book Yeah six different times he goes through This exercise and death and the march of

Time those get repeated a lot but this Is one of the most repeated things in The book other than the word hevel so This ability to see and even the pain And difficulty of my present Some kind of gift And uh that's clearly a major theme for The teacher yeah and it's it's really Profound and so I think yeah I think What what Pascal is Playing out here is a way into what the Teacher's saying you know you're still Breathing you're still alive You can still laugh this isn't something That any person can ever say on someone Else's for someone else sure you know Yeah like all you can do sounds really Just say listen I'm trying to get here Yeah Um and maybe this will be helpful for You but Uh man as a pastor I'm always so aware Of this You know when I'm like teaching in a Sunday Gathering and it's like I know That I have no clue of the stories that Are in the room yeah and so I'm not Gonna Try and tell someone they should have a Good day you know uh but I do think There's wisdom here uh because a lot of The reasons we're not having a good day Is because we have a really screwed up Expectations out of Christianity or out

Of life in general And that's what this book Dismantles for our good thing It's really interesting I love how he Talks about how we're using the present To try to control the future and it's Kind of futile in some ways but it's not Completely futile in that if you are Wise you're increasing your odds yeah That's right so it seems like there's This little give and take of like yeah Spend some of your time Increasing your odds thinking things Through making good plans being you know Reflective about the past to learn from Things and then thinking about the Future and architecting plans for how to Go like there's wisdom in that but then If you're always stuck in that gear Then that's that's a cruel joke because First of all it might not work out And second of all then you never Actually were just living yes and so it Kind of seems like there needs to be a Balance there yeah it's well said I Think that's right yeah we're almost Back to don't be overly righteous right That's overly that's overly wise overly Wise is like Yeah from 6 a.m till noon I Reflected on the past and then from noon Till bedtime I plan for the future Yeah and uh yeah and when did you live That day yeah I didn't yeah Yeah there's some days where I put my

Head down on my pillow and it's like all Of a sudden I wake up and I'm like wow Where's my mind like I've just been Churning on like oh it's not enough time Or I gotta get to this thing and I'll Solve that problem you know yeah I Realized my whole day I've just been in Like yeah some time scarcity Problem-solving mindset yeah and then I'm like I didn't actually even enjoy Anything today yes so sad I think that happened Seasons in life I think we all find Ourselves there And uh Half a dozen times the teacher says just Stop I just stop I think that's why some People like to run long distances that's What I've heard from like long distance Runners is at a certain point You are so tired Your but you know that all you can do is Focus on running yes yes you've talked About this with by riding your bike yes Like if you're riding up a hill you're Just like I'm just gonna ride up this Hill that's all I'm doing right now and That's all you can think about and then I've had it described this way where the Runner says and so I'm I stop thinking About things and I'm just running but Then all of a sudden the thoughts that I'm having are no longer the ones I feel Like I'm trying to control and think

It's just like it it gets into a Different Rhythm and it's this different Creative Rhythm where like when you do Have a thought it's almost like a dream State where it's like you're not you're Just letting it come and you're like oh That's an interesting thought and then It goes and then and it's kind of a a Picture of being present I suppose You have to exhaust yourself I know Before you could get there I know it man Before my knee blew out I used to run a Lot and that was what I loved most Did you run a lot yeah it was for me it Was like 25 minutes in oh yeah that's When it would click yeah 25 to 30 Minutes in And then I couldn't think about work if I wanted to yeah just had to think about My breathing and it's very interesting Again that's another overlap with more Eastern World Views that recognize the Yeah the state of our bodies has so much To do with our ability to think in a Healthy way Foreign [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] Moderation Live in the present don't try to control Things life is full of these things that Are out of your control

And that don't always make sense death And chance and time will put those in Your face every day if you think about It too much right and then out of that Flows so what did you do Will you still try and be wise just Don't expect too much out of it and then The gift of God thing I think that which Is to enjoy your lot to be present and To enjoy what's in front of you no Matter what that is and so the author Puts this in front of us to what end why Is the author come and say listen to This teacher and these things yeah well He tells us why I mean the author is Anonymous but Um at the very end of the book in Chapter 12 the author says you know that The teacher was wise he empowered Knowledge to people he pondered and Searched out and set in order many Proverbs the teacher was a word Smith he Says he searched to find just the right Words and he affirms he says what he Wrote is was true and right then he says This he says the words of the wise are Like goads and they're collections of Sayings are like embedded nails so he Recognizes this lies is painful painful And it hurts you to hear this but you Need to hear it and why because Ignorance is bliss right uh yes well he Said it earlier he says learning Learning will make you sad and he says

It here he says be warned my son of Anything in addition to them of the Making of many books there's no end and Of much study wearies the body so it's Almost like he's hedging now and he's Saying listen to the teacher it's very Important that you hear it but at a Certain point this is the author yeah This is the author speaking about the Teacher's words oh and he's the one that Says don't be warned of in taking this Even further okay If we've gone far enough I think it's What he's saying because listen you can Rack your brain over the existential Questions and write a million books and All you're going to do is make yourself Tired I think that's what he means it's Like it's like he drove us over to this Ledge It's like fantastic gorgeous just like Cliff and he's just like this is the end We're stuck here and then you think You're there and you think okay I guess I'm gonna have to jump off of this cliff And then and then the author goes cool Let's not go any farther yeah that's Right yeah like this is a good place to Have gone to looked at this now let's Yeah you'll be shaped by this experience You'll you'll remember it because he got Poked you got you got poked you got Stabbed by the goad Um but this will destroy you if you take

This all the way to the bottom and then The author's bottom line Um at the end of the book it's a little Concluding poem he says now we've heard Everything here is the conclusion right Of the matter Fear God Keep his Commandments this is the duty Of all mankind for God will bring every Deed into judgment including every Hidden thing whether it's good or evil So he says no matter what's been said We're Israelites Right Ten Commandments yeah the Torah The covenants God's Creator he's gonna Bring Justice to our world he's doing Something with our with us and even Though my every deed hidden good or evil It may not have a guaranteed outcome in My lifetime There is I am still accountable for it So if I do if I steal paper clips from Work I might not get fired and if I Worked really hard and no one ever Acknowledged it you know and I didn't Get the uh promotion or whatever so all The same everything I do will ultimately Be weighed and held accountable he calls That God bringing every deed into his Judgment which is not a bad word Especially in the Old Testament it's Justice it's an interesting judgment Has negative connotations in English but Justice has very positive connotations

They're basically synonyms that's what This is about we want Justice yeah we Want people to be held accountable right For what no I want certain people people other than Me and the people I care about right Right so yeah so there's this idea that Even though life is shrouded in hevel Now Uh It won't always be so that's what He's saying hmm God will clear God is Going to clear the hevel that's this is Going to one day the fog will be lifted Yes yeah and everything That we've done it will be very clear What the consequences are hmm Um because you see a really horrible Person and you think where are the Consequences for their horrible behavior And he's like listen God will bring Justice and who right now heavil so I Still really like this this image of the Fog we talked about that right because When you're driving in fog or whatever It's disorienting yeah kind of lose Track of where you're at it's a little Bit scary sometimes life is like that And in this Foggy-ness things aren't going to be Clear things aren't going to wake up Work out the way they should the way you Expect So realize that and then all of a sudden The very end it goes but one day all

This fog will be lifted and everything Will be seen for what it is and so fear The lord yes yeah so it's a future hope That ultimately does give meaning to my Behavior and then so you go back and you Realize yes the teacher what the teacher Was trying to focus on was life under The sun right so like life now as we Experience it life in the fall it's like Life in the fog yeah and So that and life in the fog might start To eat away at your motivation to do the Right thing in the fear of the Lord and Life in the fog you're going to see Things happen that seem like they go Against what ought to happen in the World and they certainly go against what The Proverbs say and and so there's a Profound forward Focus here at the very end of the book That's very similar to Um I mean we're we're in the same Neighborhood of a Jewish Christian Worldview of a hope for final Justice And so the wisdom of this book is to for Me to adjust my expectations to life Here under the sun it allows me to enjoy It because it's really screwed up a lot Of the time but it's still good and There's still goodness worth enjoying Despite the fact that it there's no Guarantees that it will work out for me Here so in a way its Proverbs is setting Out this general rule live this way and

This will likely be the outcome Ecclesiastes comes along and explores it From our perspective of the exceptions But wait a minute doesn't always work Out that way what does that mean for me Like what kind of world am I in then Right now what should my expectations be That's Ecclesiastes And then job is going to sit in the same Place of Ecclesiastes but then explore The question of well what does that mean About God and who God is and how God Interacts with the world Um Ecclesiastes was focusing on how I Deal with the world yeah in light of the Hevel Um and job will then contribute to the Conversation and guide us in how we Think about who God is So can we do a little thought experiment Really quick yeah so we talked about how Like if you went to I think I turned it Into a bar but you walk into a bar and There's There's problems Ecclesiastes and job Yeah and you get to sit down with them And ask them a question let's say you're Going to sit down with them and you're Like a new parent And so you're having your first kid you Plan on have a lot of kids And you say hey guys I want to do this Parenting thing right So give me give me your perspective

Right So Proverbs is gonna say Well train them up yeah and then the Right things yeah fear of the Lord Discipline them discipline work ethic Yeah yep pass on this wisdom to them and They're gonna it's gonna be great and You're gonna be so blessed that you have So many kids and they're gonna have Great prosperous lives So use wisdom yeah yeah and then you Turn to Ecclesiastes And he'll say oh that's interesting Um You know I have this friend who right Like I did all that yeah and and one of The kids died prematurely another one Hates him now and then and the guy who's Now old and he realizes he has to pass On everything he worked for to this kid Who's probably just gonna blow it on on Foolish things and he was as wise as he Could be so what I would recommend is do Your best don't kill yourself and just Cherish those moments with your kids Like when you're there and you're Playing Legos with them even though it Really hurts your back Like this is it this is your lot yeah And this is a gift from God this moment Right now yeah you're reading Pete the Cat for the 19th time Come up and kiss you on the face and You're just like enjoy that but maybe

They're screaming bloody murder in front Of someone you don't know and it's super Embarrassing but these are the moments Yeah that you got so just enjoy it yeah Yeah that's well said and then but That's Ecclesiastes and then you got the The author who's kind of sitting next to Ecclesiastes and going yeah I'm glad you Heard that but also remember that Everything you do will be you know Brought to to light and and feel like You are accountable before God for how You raise your child it's almost like in This thought experiment we need like Ecclesiastes and Ecclesiastes like um Chaperone He likes lets him talk and then he's Like okay okay I'm glad you heard that Right so now just you know fear the lord And that's good yeah And then yeah and then job Is this wise old person And says you know um I had a whole group Of kids yeah and they all were taken Away from me and your family along the Way will probably blow up in some way And I want you to know that God's Committed to you and that he's Trustworthy Um even in your darkest hour I think that's how the conversation Would go that's the wisdom of the wisdom Of the wisdom literature of the Bible Yeah

So amazing yeah it really is it's being Brought into this 3 000 year old conversation About what kind of world we're in and How to live well Before God in this world [Music] [Applause] That's it thanks for listening to this Episode of The Bible project I'm John Collins and that was a conversation with Dr Tim Mackey our good friend Tim Mackey On the Book of Ecclesiastes we boiled This all down to a five minute video That we put on YouTube it should be up On YouTube in July end of July 2016. our YouTube channel is the Bible Project you could also say hi to us on Twitter at join Bible proj and we're on Facebook the Bible project Thanks for being a part of this and Supporting us we've got hundreds of Monthly supporters who keep all this Content for free our videos our podcasts The study guides that we put up on our Website you can get that stuff at and you can Sign up to be a supporter there as well Thanks so much for being a part of this With us Foreign

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