REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Shan Gian who is the Fenway Site pastor at Symphony Church in Boston, was originally posted on September 29, 2014. Shan is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (BA) and Gordon Conwell Seminary (M.Div.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“The Vanity of ‘Buffets’ in Life”
Ecclesiastes 12:1-8 (ESV)
Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”; 2 before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain, 3 in the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those who look through the windows are dimmed, 4 and the doors on the street are shut—when the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low— 5 they are afraid also of what is high, and terrors are in the way; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along,[a] and desire fails, because man is going to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets— 6 before the silver cord is snapped, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, 7 and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. 8 Vanity[b] of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity.
People know me as someone who likes to eat massive amounts of food; so naturally, I love buffets. There’s a sense of excitement and joy that wells up within me thinking about all of the food I’m going to eat. I think about what my strategy will be as to what food to eat and what to skip. I enjoy walking up and down the buffet lines, scouting out my targets. It’s so much fun. Or at least they used to be . . .
I’m sad to say that it really isn’t fun anymore. As I get older, my body can’t take as much food as I used to in my younger years. Back then, I would eat without the fear of consequences; but now, eating large quantities of food takes its toll on my body. And having gone through the pains of overeating many times, I don’t really look forward to eating at buffets; I just don’t find much pleasure in them anymore. As we get older, many things just don’t make us as happy as they used to. When we’re young, it’s exciting to see a new movie, download the latest album from your favorite band, or go see your favorite team play; but as we grow older, these things don’t really excite us.
Solomon recognizes this grim truth that a time comes when we won’t find pleasure in this world. He’s not talking about trials in our lives; rather, the king is acknowledging that in the end, things of this world will fade away, and we will not find joy in them. That is why he says again and again, “Vanity of vanities; all is vanity” or “Meaningless, meaningless; everything is meaningless.”
It may seem like a depressing thought, but it is the truth. Though there is joy and pleasure to be had in this world, it will eventually all fade away. However, there is something much greater that we should look forward to. Solomon says that “desire fails, because man is going to his eternal home” (v. 5). The desires and pleasures of this world fade in light of the eternity, and what we will have in heaven. 1 John 1:17 says that “the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” The world, our desires, and pleasures of this life will fade, but if we, no matter how young or old, choose to do the will of God, we will see and experience things that are eternal. Today, let’s seek to do the will of God and live for our eternal home in heaven.
Prayer: Father, we long for the eternal home we have with you in heaven. We realize that things of this world will not satisfy us, but only your presence and love can be enough for us. May your will be done in our lives and that we can experience that eternity with you. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Acts 27
Lunch Break Study
Read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18: So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Questions to Consider
- How does Paul describe the “outer self”?
- How can we see our afflictions to be light and momentary?
- How can we be renewed day by day?
- The outer self is wasting away and experiencing light and momentary affliction.
- Our afflictions can be seen as light and momentary in view of the eternal glory to come. We must fix our eyes on what is unseen and eternal. When we do, we will see the glory and holiness of God and consider our eternity with him; then, the troubles of this world will fade away in comparison to that glory.
- Every day we can reflect on heaven and an eternity with God. When we remember and hope for this, we can experience a daily renewal in our heart.
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Cor. 4:17). What afflictions or difficulties have you faced today? Take some time and reflect on this eternal glory that awaits us in heaven. Pray that you can keep your eyes fixed and your heart longing for what is unseen and eternal, and not on what is seen and will pass away.