Words of Wisdom: Is there Satisfaction at the Beginning of the Race? Ecclesiastes 7:1-4
A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of one’s death than the day of one’s birth. It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, since that is the end of all mankind, and the living should take it to heart. Grief is better than laughter, for when a face is sad, a heart may be glad. The heart of the wise is in a house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in a house of pleasure. Eccl 7:1-4 (HCSB)
Being told you have a lot of promise doesn’t make it so! Being told you come from a great family does not make you great! Until we have competed in life and put forth the effort, we have not earned the right to claim honor for our name. Success and fame is not something you can claim – it is something that you earn and is received. It is the crown given to you by others you have impacted in this life. Success and fame come from the reputation you earn for yourself as you walk through life affecting and relating with others. Thus, at the beginning of the race what honor have you received? What accomplishment is there before the race has been run?
Solomon is clearly stating that a life well remembered at the end of the race of life is far more valuable and rewarding than a party we may hold along the journey. I know that I have been a part of many funerals, but they have all turned into a celebration of memories as a testimony of the person’s impact on the lives of others.
How sad it would be if no one came to your funeral?
If there is a tragedy in the Christmas Carol story, it is that Ebenezer Scrooge gets the opportunity to see that if he does not change his miserly, lonely ways, no one will mourn his death. No one will memorialize his life. In fact, those who do take note are glad to see him gone. What a legacy of a life wasted on selfish ambition and values that took from others and never shared with others.
Consider the stage of the race you are in this lifetime? Remember life is a marathon not a sprint! It is not clearly marked but there are plenty of others who are running it with you. At all the crossroads the race though life can be affected for good or for bad by the choices you get to make, so choose wisely. A moment to consult God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word is always a good investment. Do not trust the flow of the people to always choose wisely because there are many who are like sheep and they will follow the crowd only to learn they have picked the hazardous and dangerous path at the crossroads.
Run the race that is set before you, knowing that there is someone who loves you more than anyone standing at the finish line calling your name and urging you to not quit and to finish strong. He knows the way. He ran the race and knows the challenges and obstacles you will face along the way. But He also knows the reward at the end! There is a crown of victory and a crowd of others who finished before you waiting to celebrate the victory you will have realized. At the finish line in this life, genuine satisfaction and honor resides. However, for those still running the race there are plenty of opportunities for encouragement along the way, and you are rewarded as you help others along the way as well. So, continue to run the race well, and desire to celebrate your life with friends and family along the way.
Therefore since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne. Heb 12:1-2 (HCSB)