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God's Plan and Purpose

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Sermon shared by Michael Luke

February 2009
Summary: When God is in the picture, all the seasons of life become fulfilling.
Series: Be Satisfied
Audience: General adults
Sermon:
SERIES: “BE SATISFIED”

“GOD’S PURPOSE AND PLAN”

ECCLESIASTES 3:1-22

It’s good to be back with you this morning. I hope you enjoyed your guest speakers this past week as much as I enjoyed having a vacation. Several weeks back, we started a series through the book of Ecclesiastes called “Be Satisfied.” Solomon is at the end of his life reflecting back on his life. When he looked at his wisdom, his works, and his wealth – everything that he had – he found it to be worthless, empty, and unsatisfactory. Eccl. 1:1-3 – The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem: “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun?
In 1925, a man named Floyd Collins was exploring near Mammoth Cave in Kentucky and got stuck. He was 55 feet from the surface, and he got stuck. Icy water was dripping in his face. The rescuers came in and diverted the water, and they talked with him, they calmed him down, but they couldn’t get him out. He began to come unglued there, stuck in that cave. He was able to see the light, able to see where he wanted to be, hearing voices, getting food, but he was stuck and he couldn’t get out. So he slowly began to have raving lunacies about everything from chicken sandwiches to angels in white chariots. The newspapers got in on it, and ten thousand people came to see him. They sold hot dogs and sandwiches. It was a sideshow. Seventeen days later Floyd Collins died in that hole, able to see where he wanted to be and not able to get there.
I am amazed at the variety of things that offered to us every day to help us find the secret of living a enjoyable life. There are magazine articles by the hundreds that tell us how to cope with various problems. Bookstores are filled with all kinds of “self-help” volumes. Television commercials – dozens for every program it seems – bombard us, telling us how to live a successful life; or at least how to look successful even if we’re really not.
Busyness has become the by-word of successful living. We have tried to cram as much of life as we can into as little a space of time as we can. Someone commented on this phenomenon with the following statement: This is the age of the half-read page and the quick hash and the mad dash; the bright night with the nerves tight; the plane hop and the brief stop; the lamp tan in a short span; the big shot in a soft spot; and the brain strain and the heart pain; and the catnaps ‘til the spring snaps; and the fun is done.
There is a universal search it seems, for the secret of enjoying life. Billions of dollars are spent every day in this very quest. And this very quest is the one that Solomon talks about in Ecclesiastes. The greatest experiment ever performed in the history of mankind to test the various approaches to success, enjoyment, and contentment in life recorded in this 3,000-year-old book.
At the beginning of this book, Solomon seems very negative. He says that there is nothing that means anything; nothing that is worth anything. What you have left after you accumulate all you can and do all you can is what is left after a soap bubble bursts.
But then Solomon changes directions. At the end of the last chapter, Solomon says this in Eccl. 2:24-26 – A man can do nothing
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