What is the Legacy of Our Labors to be?

ecclesiastes1 (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the Legacy of Our Labors to be?

I hated all my work at which I labored under the sun because I must leave it to the man who comes after me. And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will take over all the work that I labored at skillfully under the sun. This too is futile. So I began to give myself over to despair concerning all the work I had labored at under the sun. For there is a man whose work was done with wisdom, knowledge, and skill, but he must give his portion to a man who has not worked for it. This too is futile and a great wrong. For what does a man get with all his work and all his efforts that he labors with under the sun? For all his days are filled with grief, and his occupation is sorrowful; even at night, his mind does not rest. This too is futile.

There is nothing better for a man than to eat, drink, and to enjoy his work. I have seen that even this is from God’s hand. For who can eat and who can enjoy life apart from Him? For to the man who is pleasing in His sight, He gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy, but to the sinner, He gives the task of gathering and accumulating in order to give to the one who is pleasing in God’s sight. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind. Eccl 2:18-26 (HCSB)

In history, there are many great kings, emperors, and rulers of vast dynasties that are well known. But, what happened after they passed away? What happened to their kingdoms and empires after their day in the sun had ended? What happened after others took over the legacy of fame and fortune left behind? Many collapsed and faded away into the grips of likewise foolish kings, emperors, and rulers who followed.

What caused their sad demise? Most often history revealed either sons or grandsons assumed the reins of power but stumbled and bumbled what had been built by the hard work and labors of their father or grandfather before them.

Solomon was one such ruler. He received the Kingdom of Israel from his father, King David, and managed to hold onto the greatness of Israel as a nation until the end of his reign, but soon after strife and conflict rumbled throughout the kingdom. In the end, his successors fought over the kingdom and it split in two. The once-great Kingdom of Israel spiraled downward until within 200-300 years its collapsed in total devastation. If Solomon wrote this passage did he have a premonition as to what would happen in the future?

So the question arises: Why should we work so hard in this lifetime to build something when it likely will fall apart after we are gone? Will history be kind to our legacy? Should we care?

My father built a great company, but after he retired late in life, the business was sold and resold again by others. Outside of the family, my father’s legacy has slowly faded into a distant memory. The family remembers but none could dare match the fire or drive of our father. So what purpose did the legacy of his labors serve?

The good news is this: In the grand scheme of life, God uses others at the right time to pick up the pieces of others for His greater purposes, using the right person(s) to rebuild the labor of love for the greater good. Yet, though we will inevitably be long gone, we can trust that God will pass onto the future generation the same God’s grace that we enjoyed in our lifetime.

What will be the legacy of your labors? What greater good did your legacy serve? What greater purpose has your labor in this life served? Or, have you only lived a life that is like the wind – here today and gone tomorrow, leaving no trace, no footprints for others to follow? That would be meaningless.

Fame and fortune should not be the focus of your legacy. They will fade, but a legacy of love and devotion that inspires others who follow can never lose its value over time. Thanks, Pop.

Coach

The legacy of my father and his father inspired me to write my Shiloh Mystery novels. Much of my father’s and grandfather’s shared wisdom is reflected in the stories. Visit TMBrownAuthor.com

Wise Man, Mad Man, or Fool

 

 

Wise Man, Mad Man, or Fool

Then I turned to consider wisdom, madness, and folly, for what will the man be like who comes after the king? He will do what has already been done. And I realized that there is an advantage to wisdom over folly, like the advantage of light over darkness. The wise man has eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness.

Yet I also knew that one fate comes to them both. So I said to myself, “What happens to the fool will also happen to me. Why then have I been overly wise?” And I said to myself that this is also futile. For, just like the fool, there is no lasting remembrance of the wise man, since in the days to come both will be forgotten. How is it that the wise man dies just like the fool? Therefore, I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me. For everything is futile and a pursuit of the wind. Eccl 2:12-17 (HCSB)

The difference between the wise man, the mad man, and the fool is this: If all are at a busy crossing on a street corner–

    1. The wise man will wait and look both ways before proceeding across the street, making certain there is no traffic;
    2. The mad man will look but will begin walking across even though he sees traffic, but in his estimation, he can make it across before getting hit;
    3. The fool, well, he starts walking assuming no one will hit him, and never bothers to look if it is safe or not.

Which of the three will likely live longer and avoid injury? Which will avoid death altogether?

The answer is clear, the wise man may outlive the other two, and the mad man likely will outlive the fool, but all have the same destiny–death!

If all three share the same fate, is there any logic that concludes why not live like the fool or the mad man, and ignore the light (clarity) that God’s gift of wisdom offers us?

Consider there are many people in this world that you may know who live like the mad man or fool. They walk a riskier path, always seem in a hurry, throwing caution to the wind. They seem to believe they are invincible, but sooner rather than later, they discover after it is too late that such a lifestyle presents risks that eventually includes hazardous consequences.

Does Life Require Some Risk?

However, is it not true, life without some risk prevents a man from exploring new horizons?

If wisdom is so good for us, then why do so many people opt not to apply it to their lives?

Why do so many walk away from the pursuit of it?

Why do some people embrace the thrill of living on the edge of danger? Is it madness or folly?

On the other hand, does God desire us to live a totally safe and cautious lifestyle?

I believe the Bible states otherwise. One can be wise yet still walk boldly and confidently in the face of danger if it is for the right purpose.

When we walk in the light of God’s will, ways, and wisdom, we realize there is a mission we have deep inside of us to make a difference in this lifetime. Sometimes that mission will undoubtedly place our lives at risk, but we are never alone to face the danger. When we are attuned to the Lord’s direction in our life, his presence is ever-present in the valley of the shadow of death, and we can feel his presence when we face our enemies (fears). The Lord’s presence will always calm our fears, comfort our soul, and guide our steps as we pursue our God-sanctioned mission in life. There lies the difference between a wise man and the mad man or the fool.

The Teacher in Ecclesiastes saw the folly in it all. He argued over and over, in the end, we all face the same inevitable fate–death. However, when we walk in concert with God’s will, ways and wisdom, death becomes merely a predestined portal to something much greater. The wise man approaches each crossroad assessing his course of action in the light of his mission in life. The mad man and fool only stumble through life unclear about their mission in life and thus rush off the street curb with reckless abandon only to cross to the other side.

Which course you pursue matters…

What about you, are you challenging the wind, chasing the wind, or are you being capturing the wind? Three sailing ships with similar rigging head out into the ocean. One is determined to navigate headlong into the wind, determined to challenge the wind. The second ship decides to chase after the wind no matter where it ultimately takes him, determined only to go fastest. The third steers a course that captures the wind and adjusts his course to make headway toward the ultimate destination that all three ships desired. Which will flounder? Which ends up chasing the wind without considering the ultimate destination?

Coach

Many of the Coach devotional messages appear in T. M. Brown’s Shiloh Mystery Novels. Visit TMBrownAuthor.com to order your copies and follow the exploits of Theo Phillips and his wife, Liddy, as they get drawn into dark secrets and scandals and solving mysteries that only lil’ ol’ Shiloh can muster.

Alone I am Nothing!

One is a Lonely Number

I cry aloud to the Lord; I plead aloud to the Lord for mercy. I pour out my complaint before Him; I reveal my trouble to Him. Although my spirit is weak within me, You know my way. Along this path I travel they have hidden a trap for me. Look to the right and see; there is no refuge for me; no one cares for me. I cry to You, Lord; I say, “You are my shelter, my portion in the land of the living.” Listen to my cry, for I am weak. Rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. Free me from prison so that I can praise Your name. The righteous will gather around me because You deal generously with me. Psalm 142

Alone I am Nothing!

In spite of whatever we believe about our own abilities, amidst the battles of life, we discover that we fall well short of the needed strength to overcome our many enemies that surround us each day. When arrogance and pride stand in the way, we discover too late that victory is not ours but that of our enemies. Too late, we learn our strongest adversary and foe lies within us–our SELF. We are our worst enemy amidst life’s struggles. The greatest understanding we can come to grips with is the reality that “Alone I am Nothing!”

There are no forces on earth or in heaven that God cannot overcome, but He will not subdue the enemy that lies within us–our SELF–for us. That is something we must tackle on our own. We must first surrender to the Lordship of God’s Will, Ways, and Wisdom. SELF must abdicate so that God may reign within us. We must become crucified like Christ so that we may live like Christ, free from the tyrannical reign of SELF.

SIN will always dominate our life as long as we rely on our arrogance and pride to stand alone upon our own two feet.

Stop and ask yourself a simple question: Am I better off without the help of our Lord, or have I become my own worst enemy?

Your response, if answered honestly and earnestly, should be a resounding– Alone I am nothing Lor. I surrender to you and accept your refuge and shelter. It is no longer “I” that desires to live within me, but “You.” Only You will set me free from the burdens and assaults of my enemies.

Who has your back? Who will walk side-by-side with you? And, Who can you look face-to-face as a true friend in your time of need? Hopefully, you will decide to no longer walk alone.

Coach

Hope you’ll visit TMBrown, Southern Author and discover the life-like stories of Theo Phillips coping with challenges in life in his award-winning Shiloh Mystery novels.