This week, I spent time trying to decide what piece to post to my blog. I was back and forth on a few topics, and by about Tuesday, I started to see a running theme in my week. And when your week has a theme, you go with it.
On Sunday, my church finished a series on Ecclesiastes. It was a series that went faster than I had hoped. But you can’t really go by me because Ecclesiastes is my favorite book of the Bible. We could have practically spent the entire year in this book (and then some), and I would have been happy. The first two weeks of study were beneficial, but I felt that this past Sunday’s teaching really honed in on Ecclesiastes’ central message: recognizing what is important. Solomon, the wealthiest and wisest man to have ever lived, is whom scholars believe to have written this book. He pursued pleasure, knowledge, work, accolades, and wealth in his life, but in his older age looking back, he deems it all meaningless. Solomon was trying to do us all a favor by giving advice after having lived quite the life.
Each week we receive a fill-in-the-blank notecard in the bulletin which serves as a guide with the sermon. As I completed my notecard, I arrived at the last blank. The note read, “Is _______ enough for you?” Thinking I’d missed the answer, I filled in the blank with the word “this.” Come to find out, I had not missed the blank; it simply had not been stated yet. The word meant for this blank? God. I had wondered if that was going to be the word, but, honestly, I had been a bit hesitant to write that down. “Is God enough for you?” What a to-the-point question. Ultimately, that is the question that Ecclesiastes leads us to. When we are in seasons of plenty, sometimes it’s hard to be honest about this. And when we are in a season other than one of plenty, the answer to this question often becomes our foundation.
I ended up in Mark 8 this week. “Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?’” (Mark 8:34-36). I was reminded that denying ourselves means setting aside our self-centered ways and choosing to not be the center of our universe, that following Christ will give us life, and that we can’t keep worldly wealth and possessions.
Even moving from one house to another shows how fast you can rid yourself of your possessions. Perhaps you give some stuff to Goodwill, you trash other things, and you pack up what’s left and move it out. Finally, you leave your whole house – for another. Similarly, we one day will leave this world for a much better home. The difference is, we won’t take anything with us when we go, and it won’t matter one bit what we gained materialistically while we were here. So why gain the whole world and lose your soul in the process?
Ok, so I watch The Originals. One of the characters has been in and out of the show, but as of last season, he was present a good bit. I like this guy’s character, but I’ve never seen the actor in anything else. Out of curiosity, I looked him up. Enter Nathanial Buzolic. Long story short, his Wikipedia page names him a “devout Christian.” (See for yourself here.) This past Tuesday, he posted on his Instagram story some passages of Scripture he was reading. His Bible was turned to Romans 8, and he ran his finger under verse 6: “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” How refreshing to be reminded of this – and from an actor. It is also worth mentioning that Nathanial plays an immortal vampire on The Originals. (I guess his fictional role hasn’t swayed his real-life person.)
Our world is consumed with consumerism. It’s everywhere. But this theme that developed over my week helped me remember the end goal. Though seasons change, God is ever-present. Though we gain possessions in this world, they remain here only. And though we live in flesh, we thrive focusing on the Spirit. Moments like these from my week keep my perspective in check, and they’re just truly uplifting. Be encouraged that your worth is far more than rubies.