REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Barry Kang who heads Symphony Church in Boston, is an updated version of his blog first posted on March 5, 2014. He is a graduate of Stanford University (BA), Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Brady and Solomon”
Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do. Let your garments be always white. Let not oil be lacking on your head. Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.
In an interview on “60 minutes,” Tom Brady, a top NFL quarterback for a long time, became vulnerable on national television and made a profound statement: “Why do I have three Super Bowl rings and still think there’s something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, ‘Hey man, this is what it is. I reached my goal, my dream, my life.’ Me? I think ‘God, it’s got to be more than this. I mean this isn’t, this can’t be what it’s all cracked up to be.”
Certainly, Brady is one of the most accomplished quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL. His list of athletic achievements would undoubtedly run past the bottom of this screen. He is married to a supermodel, works hard at his job, and excels at doing what he does best. Yet, there is something missing, and Tom Brady knows it.
What Brady is to football, Solomon is to wisdom. As the wisest man to have ever lived, Solomon had seen it all, heard it all, and thought it all. Upon observing the world, he concluded that if there is no life after death, then there is no point to anything, and we might as well just enjoy what we’ve got because pleasure is all there is left in this meaningless existence.
But there is something we know that Solomon, in all his human wisdom, could not have fully known then; and Tom Brady, in all his athletic prowess, is beginning to realize: Yes, there is more! Through Jesus Christ, there is resurrection and eternal life! There is a deeper meaning to life that exceeds merely enjoying life. There is a God who has created us for a purpose! This changes everything. Today, as you eat your bread and drink your beverage, remember that you are not headed to Sheol, but rather you are living a purpose-filled, eternal life.
Prayer: Thank you God, that you have revealed Your wisdom of resurrection to someone like me. Thank you that in Christ, we have crossed over from death into eternal life. Today, as I go through my day, help me live not just to maximize pleasure and minimize discomfort, but to live faithfully to which you have called me to do. Help me to remember that there really is more to this life. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Acts 21
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 Corinthians 15:19-22, 30-32: If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive… Why are we in danger every hour? I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”
Questions to Consider
- In what ways are Paul’s words here similar to those of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 9:7-9?
- In what ways are they different?
- How does Christ’s resurrection (and ours) change the way we live our present lives?
- Paul’s words are similar to Solomon’s words in that he is reflecting on the futility of life if there is no resurrection. One of the Greek schools of thought during Paul’s time was Epicureanism, which taught this very doctrine: there is nothing more to life than the proper enjoyment of life’s pleasures. Both Paul and Solomon would agree that if there is no resurrection, we ought to adopt the Epicurean mentality.
- Yet, Paul clearly says that this is not the way we live because we know that there is eternal life in Christ. Although Solomon did not have explicit knowledge of God’s redemptive plan through Christ, many scholars actually believe that Solomon did in fact believe in life after death, and that Ecclesiastes 9:7-9 is either a commentary on the attitude of the world, or a reflection of a portion of his personal journey in which he lived with such an attitude.
- In light of the resurrection and eternal life that we have in Jesus Christ, Paul says that suffering has a purpose, labor is not in vain, and there is a reason to persevere through trials and persecution. And even the worst thing that can happen to man, which is death, becomes gain! Today, live in Christ! Then even the unpleasant, difficult occurrences of the day begin to fit into the bigger picture, where suffering produces endurance, which produces character, which produces hope.
Tonight, let’s give thanks and praise to the Lord, as we meditate on what Paul writes at the end of 1 Corinthians 15: Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.