Ecclesiastes 7:1-6: Legacy

Read: Ecclesiastes 7:1-6

The Preacher in Ecclesiastes is now old, and is perhaps here looking back over his life as to what he has accomplished. He had tried any number of things, but what he had pursued left him empty, wanting more. He was never satisfied in his pursuits. In light of this though, the Preacher looks at other things in his life with particular regard to his legacy. He says that a good name is better than fine perfume and one’s death day is better than one’s day of birth. The Preacher is not being morbid, rather he is being introspective, and realizing how death causes one to look inwardly at one’s own life. Going to the house of mourning and having a sad face conjures up feelings of loss no doubt, but it also gives pause in one’s life. When death comes, it usually interrupts life such that people have a time or mourning for whomever it was that was lost, thinking about that person’s life and how that person impacted the lives of others. In the end, a person’s name is remembered as ad good or bad. The Preacher says that the common destiny of all, namely death, should be taken to heart so that when one does pass away, one’s name will be remembered.

Perhaps the best legacy one can have is a life that is lived in accordance with the ways of God. Proverbs 16:31 says that gray hair is a crown of splendor earned through a righteous life. Everyone knows that gray hair is caused by age, but the writer is saying that the respect do to those who are older is from one’s right living.  Paul in all his turmoil says toward the end of his life that he has earned a crown of righteousness because he has “fought the good fight” and has “finished the race” (2 Timothy 4:6-8). The sort of legacy that Paul left behind was a life committed to the gospel. Paul calls his converts his “letters of commendation” (2 Corinthians 3:1-5). The believers in Corinth were a testament to what he had done. Psalm 71 speaks of one who has feared God from his youth. The Psalmist says that he declared the works of God, and asks God not to forsake him in his old age.  Hebrews 11 enumerates many of those whose names are immortalized in the Bible. They all left a legacy by having faith in God.

The Preacher in Ecclesiastes 11:7-12-7 says that those who are young should remember their creator while they are young. He says that youth and vigor are meaningless, much like Proverbs 31:30 says concerning beauty. These things are fleeting. In a culture that glorifies youthfulness and vigor, these words can fall on deaf ears. Christians need not consume themselves with things that are fleeting, rather they should consume themselves with the things that bring about a good name: fearing God and keeping his commandments. This sort of legacy can be passed from generation to generation such that one will be among those in Hebrew 11 and among those who receive a crown of righteousness!

Lord, help my legacy to be your name!

John 7:1-13

Read: John 7:1-13

The Feast of Booths was ordinated by God in Leviticus 23:34-43 to commemorate how the Israelites lived when they came out of exile in Egypt. It is usually celebrated in September or October depending on when it falls on the Jewish lunar calendar. Jesus’ brothers were coaxing him to make a journey to Jerusalem to celebrate the festival. They also knew Jesus works were making him famous and encouraging him not to hide it. What they did not understand was Jesus’ purpose. Jesus was not seeking fame or prestige. His mission was to bring salvation to the world (John 3:16-17).

Jesus tells them that his time has not come because he knew that the Jews would try and kill him if he went to Jerusalem. Jesus says that the world cannot hate them, but hates Jesus because he testifies about evil. They are not “hated” (or “detested”) by the world because they are still of the world because they have not believed. Matthew 10:22 declares that the disciples would be hated for Jesus name. Jesus work exposes sin and convicts people, and because people love their sin, they reject Jesus (John 3:19). The time for Jesus to be offered up comes some time after this (John 13:2). Jesus was a devout Jew, so he made the journey, but later after many had left and in secret as to not draw attention to himself. The Jews were looking for him so they could kill him, but they did not find him. They whispered among themselves because they were not sure what might become of them if they spoke openly about, because they also feared the religious establishment in Jerusalem.

Being hated by the world – that is the things that are evil – is almost to be expected by Christians because of whose name they bear. Persecution is to be expected for those who follow Christ (2 Timothy 3:12). One can reasonably expect that persecution will come from one angle or another nowhere does Jesus tell his disciples to go looking for trouble – trouble will most certainly come to them. Jesus himself was not looking for fame, rather to simply fulfill the mission he was sent to do. When it does come, one should not be surprised, but rather pray for those who do persecute you (Matthew 5:44), escape it if possible (Matthew 10:23), and rejoice and be glad because of the reward that awaits believers in heaven (Matthew 5:10-12).

Lord, I know I’m hated for your name. Help me to endure it and remain faithful to you!