Monday, November 26, 2012

Third Thanksgiving Payback: Purpose

The turkey has been eaten or frozen for later. The mammoth sales are over. The game's glow of victory or shadow of defeat has faded.

The Thanksgiving weekend has ended.

Let us hear the end of the whole matter:
Fear God, and keep His commands,
For this is the whole of man.
~ Ecclesiastes 12:13

"Fear God, and keep His commands" might accurately sum up human purpose. But it comes at the end of Ecclesiastes, Solomon's long lament about the "whole" of life as "meaningless," "vanity," "pointless," or "useless" (depending on your Bible's translation). How do we reconcile the wisdom of Solomon simultaneously viewing the whole of life as meaningless and the whole of man as "Fear God, and keep His commands"?

And further, from these, my son, be warned;
The making of many books has no end,
And much study is a weariness of the flesh.
~ Ecclesiastes 12:13

King Solomon possessed greater luxury, peace, and wisdom than all before or since. Yet he wearied himself searching for his "whole" in many women, much study, and a multitude of writings. He rightly concluded that the whole of man is found in fear of God and obedience to Him, but evidently found no satisfaction in the conclusion.

Solomon's descent came not in the loss of any blessing, but in failure to be content. His father David lived much of his life in exile and want, enduring hostility and war, yet he expressed continual gratitude to God through it all. Solomon's two psalms, volumes of proverbs, and Ecclesiastes elegy fail to speak of gratitude at all despite his enormity of blessings and peace.

Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work."
~ John 4:34 (NKJV)

Jesus knew His purpose and it was food to Him, body and soul. Gethsemane revealed that although human will and purpose are quite distinct, they find harmony in acceptance of God's will as blessing. We see in Scripture that Jesus, God the Son, always gave thanks to God the Father for His food, including the food of God's will, for He gave thanks for the covenant cup (Matthew 26.27-28)—a cup made available only because Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, also accepted the cup of God's wrath (Isaiah 51:17, Matthew 26:39,42).

This grace was given me: to proclaim goodness … the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make visible to everyone our share of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things … according to the eternal purpose which God accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.
~ Ephesians 3:8-11

In the giving of thanks, we make invisible God visible. We have highest purpose.

The Thanksgiving weekend may be over. The giving of thanks has no end.

Gracious Father, reveal to us Your will and our purpose. Lord Jesus, thank You for Your glorious example. Holy Spirit, empower us to live up to all we are to be, to our Father's delight.

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