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Summary: This sermon gives people basic truths that can help you enjoy life in spite of all its mysteries.

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Intro: Keys to Understanding this book (Ecclesiastes)

1. Written by somone who is credited for being the wisest of all time.

2. Written by somone who has made many mistakes.

3. Written after many pursuits and a lot of trial and error.

Solomon describes life as an unending, repetitious, pursuit of nothing.

chasing the wind

dog chasing his tail

merry-go-round

treadmill

Nascar race

In the midst of all this, God has given us the task of figuring out this thing we call life (3:10) and a grievous task it is (1:13)

And not much time to do it! On the landscape of eternity our life is brief.

(Ps 39:5, 144:4; Jms 4:14)

Life here is often depicted as pitching a tent. (temporary)

(2 Pet 1:13, 2 Cor 5:1, 4)

With so many philosophies and winds of thought, it’s important to have some stakes to tie your tent to. (Truths from the Word)

Basic tent stakes to help you enjoy life (Ecc 3-4)

1. God is in control (3:1-10, 14)

a. God is sovereign

i. He has appointed a time for everything

b. We are not sovereign

i. Understand that we are eternal beings living in temporary bodies.

ii. God has set eternity in our hearts (v.11)

1) Stop trying to fill that eternal longing with temporary things

2) 1 Cor 15:51-58

2. God has a good plan for your life (3:12-13)

a. Find joy in the life God has given (Jer 29:11-13)

i. You are not who you are by chance

1) Without God, the joy in your life will always be in the next challenge, the next accomplishment, next relationship, or next material thing.

2) The past is gone, the future will never be, all God has given us is now and that’s why it’s called the present.

a) Medical science is helping us to live longer through live-saving operations and miracle drugs. But while it can add years to life, it cannot add life to years. That only God can do. May we say, as did Christian martyr Jim Elliot in his journal, "I seek not a long life but a full one, like you, Lord Jesus." Greg Laurie, Breakfast With Jesus pp. 111-112

ii. Enjoy your uniqueness

1) There’s a story about a child psychologist who wanted to observe how different children respond to negative circumstances.

They got a room and filled it with horse manure. Putting the pessimistic child in there, they observed how he responded.

Predictably, he whined and cried, and despaired that he was in a room full of smelly manure.

They put the other child in there, and the little guy started tearing around the room, digging in the manure with an excitement that baffled the on-lookers.

After a few moments of watching this, they asked him why he was so excited.

He replied, "With all this manure in the room, there’s got to be a pony in here somewhere"

2) A.W. Tozer once wrote, "Anything God has ever done, He can do now. Anything God has every done anywhere, He can do here. Anything God has ever done for anyone, He can do for you."

b. Whatever you do, do it for the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31)

3. God will judge all things in the end (3:15-4:16)

a. The world is full of problems

i. Problems of injustice (3:16-17)

ii. Problems of oppression (4:1-3)

iii. Problems of competition(4:4-12)

1) Clovis Chappell, a minister from a century back, used to tell the story of two paddleboats. They left Memphis about the same time, traveling down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. As they traveled side by side, sailors from one vessel made a few remarks about the snail’s pace of the other. Words were exchanged. Challenges were made. And the race began. Competition became vicious as the two boats roared through the Deep South.

One boat began falling behind. Not enough fuel. There had been plenty of coal for the trip, but not enough for a race. As the boat dropped back, an enterprising young sailor took some of the ship’s cargo and tossed it into the ovens. When the sailors saw that the supplies burned as well as the coal, they fueled their boat with the material they had been assigned to transport. They ended up winning the race, but burned their cargo.

God has entrusted cargo to us, too: children, spouses, friends. Our job is to do our part in seeing that this cargo reaches its destination. Yet when the program takes priority over people, people often suffer. How much cargo do we sacrifice in order to achieve the number one slot? How many people never reach the destination because of the aggressiveness of a competitive captain? In the Eye of the Storm by Max Lucado Word Publishing, 1991, pp. 97-98.

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