REMEMBERING GOD:THE KEY TO A PROFITABLE LIFE

Remember to Enjoy Living your life Responsibly before God in Spite of the uncertainties of life

Ecclesiastes 11

Jerry A Collins

SCC

10/6/02

® How much & how often should I give of my resources?

® Should I be concerned about what happens with the gifts I give?

What kind of perspective should I have when I give?

The whole theme of Solomonís advice to us in this book seems to be: In spite of frequent observation and experience of lifeís apparent futility, he exhorts us to grasp by faith the sovereignty, goodness, and justice of God and to enjoy all the facets of life as His gift. Once again he lays out that advice to us here in chapter 11. Yesterday afternoon I received four phone calls in the span of three hours or so that drove home Solomonís point in this passage. Dear friends of ours have had a struggling marriage for over a year. Her husband just admitted that he loves another woman and has for awhile and so he was going to pursue that relationship. One of those calls was made by his wife to tell me that. In tears of agony she said, I have been a good wife to him, When I made my vows 15 yrs ago and 3 little children later, I could have never known it would end up like this. I have been praying that God would fix it but He hasnít. What can I do? There is an awful lot of work to do and love to give to her and her children by concerned and caring friends for a long time to come. Life is filled with uncertainties. What are we to do? Solomonís advice is the title of this message Remember to live your life responsibly before God in spite of itís uncertainties. Whatever curves life throws at you, remember not to forget Godís Word and wisdom as you respond and relate to the pain and consequences of those uncertainties. It requires faith to walk with God. So given lifes uncertainties how then should we live? What is it that God expects from us as we move thru our lives and handle the unexpected and unanticipated?

1. DO NOT LET YOUR FEAR OF AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE KEEP YOU FROM BEING A GENEROUS GIVER 1-2

The worlds perspective on life is often the opposite of Godís. Turn the world upside down and you begin to understand God. Solomon says that an uncertain future means you should give rather than accumulate. He gives a precept (Cast) and a promise (Find). It is the promise here that gives life to this precept for us. The Bible says a great deal about hoarding and stinginess and nothing suggests that you can be too generous. Cast not just the bread of money but also your time and energy, all of the resources God has given you to steward. Lavish spending is only possible with unlimited resources. Again and again God calls upon us to demonstrate that we believe all we have is a gift of His grace. If you believe this, then giving becomes easy, for Gods resources are unlimited. Many are so afraid of poverty that they refuse to risk anything beyond that which they feel they can afford. In vs 2 casting upon the waters is more than giving, it is investing in whatever God wants. To be liberal and generous to as many as you can and then some is the idea. The motive for this kind of investing can never be hoarding so as not to have to trust Him in the future. God wants you living on the edge of dependence. The world says you cannot afford top be liberal for you know not what tomorrow will bring. Solomon says you cannot afford not to be liberal for you know not what tomorrow will bring. The argument Solomon uses to be liberal we use to be stingy. Donít say I already gave at the office when somebody asks for help at your own door. You can never know what evil may be averted by your gift is the implication. There are four reasons why we should give like this especially in lite of lifes uncertainties.

(1) Generous giving is the natural outflow of a full life vs 3a. Like clouds that are filled with rain and empty themselves again and again and again throughout the earth. God gives you a spirit of sufficiency so that your giving continues to be generous.

(2) In your present circumstances where God has placed you is where you are to give vs 3b. It is God who controls the fall of the tree out in the forest, whether it falls to the south or the north is within the scope of diving providence to determine but where it falls that is where it is to be. So bloom where you have been planted. Be generous with the needs currently around you.

(3) Do not wait for the perfect time to give vs 4. If we insist on certainties or even just the most favorable conditions prior to acting we will never do anything. The Farmer who hesitates too much over threatening wind and clouds will never get down to sowing and reaping. So waiting for just the rite moment to do this will get you nowhere. Donít wait until you have more favorable circumstances or bank accounts or income or opportunity to give. Give where you are with what you have to whoever is in need.

(4) Let the result of your giving, be it success or failure, rest in the hand of God vs 5-6. No one knows the way of the wind (ever get frustrated by that) or the way bones are formed in a motherís womb. So even though the plan of God may be generally known, no one can penetrate the wholeness or the specific details of that work. We do not know how he produces life or uses our gifts but he does and does so remarkably. So we do not know how he will use our giving or even the help our giving may bring nor the timing of God. Any gift and every gift given God uses for His purposes. Do not let uncertainties keep you from participating in all of that! Do something now, rite where you are. God is at work and uses our giving to bring glory to Himself.

2. ENJOY YOUR PRESENT LIFE LIVING IT RESPONSIBLY BEFORE GOD 7-11

(1) Solomon encourages us to enjoy life as long as we live because life like the pleasant lite of the sun soon gives way to the dark note of death which lasts forever 7-8. In other words, you get only one shot at it and you will never return this way again. It is Godís gift to you to be enjoyed.

(2) While enjoying it live it responsibly before God 9-10. Yes enjoy whatever you see or desire but mark it down well and in the midst of your enjoyment remember that you are accountable to God for all of this. God gives the gift of youth with its strength, optimism, dreams, hopes and opportunities. And life must be lived with eternityís values in view. Do not be upside because youth fades. that is Godís design. He did not create us to be young all our lives. He needs adults too. God takes us thru cycles of life because we are eternity bound. So temper your desires with the awareness that God will judge and let that guide you thru all your stages of life.

(1) You can count on uncertainties.

(2) Walk with God in faith and obedience.

(3) Donít quit at halftime.