Morning Musing: Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

“Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

When God was creating the world, everything was good. Again and again this refrain echoes across the unfolding drama of creation. Each thing God makes He pronounces good. Then He gets to us and says it is very good. It’s really a beautiful picture. That’s chapter 1. In chapter 2 we get a more intimate look at the story of creation focused in on the creation of people. There, once God has created all of the world and just the man something suddenly changes. God says, “It is not good.” And what is the thing that isn’t good? It is not good for the man to be alone. We were not made to do life on our own. And while marriage is one way to make sure we don’t have to try it, this morning I want to talk about another, equally valid and more broadly available option (since not everyone is called to marriage): friendship. And I want to do this through the lens of a recently concluded Netflix series. Here’s why you need to watch Alexa and Katie.

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Full Contentment

Having a life of meaning available to us is one thing. Living a life of meaning is something else. One can lead to the other, but the connection is not automatic. In this final installment in our series, Finding Meaning, we talk about the secret of not just having, but living a life filled with meaning and purpose. Keep reading to find out as we wrap up this thought-provoking journey.

Full Contentment

One of the things I have actively encouraged you guys to be doing is spending daily time in the Scriptures.  This is something I’ll keep encouraging and keep encouraging and keep encouraging because of how utterly transformational this practice is to the life of faith.  You simply cannot be a consistent, faithful follower of Jesus without regularly engaging with the Word of God.  It’s just not how it was designed to work.  And so you know that I’m not just saying you should be doing this without actually doing it myself, this past week I was working my way through Genesis 2-3 and I read something there that when I sat down to start working on this message came rushing to the front of my brain.  It was one of those cool times when God makes a connection between two different ideas in the Scriptures written by different authors living in different cultures separated by centuries of time that you just wouldn’t have made without Him.  The original thought struck me enough that you may have seen it on my blog this past week if you follow me there.  All of those entries, by the way, come out of my own quiet time.  If you ever want to know what I’m reading at the moment, it’s all right there for you.  I just want you to know that I’m in this with you. 

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The Problem with Wealth

In part five of our series, Finding Meaning, we look at one last place we often go to fill this lingering void in our lives: Wealth. Money is a tempting source of meaning because it can make so many things happen that seem to be on our behalf, but if contentment is the thing we are seeking in having it, we are going to come up empty. Contentment has another source. Keep reading to find out what that is.

The Problem with Wealth

Have you ever felt like the system is rigged in favor of the wealthy and at the expense of the not-so-wealthy?  The odds are that unless you happen to feel like you’re part of the “wealthy”—that ubiquitous class of people who are imprecisely defined as folks whose net worth number has a couple more zeros than yours does and who serve as a convenient villain for all kinds of occasions—you’ve probably felt like this before.  As fair and impartial as our system is supposed to be, having money has its advantages.  And the more money you have, the more you are able to tap into those advantages.  We defer to wealthy people in ways we don’t similarly defer to not-as-wealthy people.  Humans have always done that.  We have always assumed that people who have lots of money have managed to get that money for some reason and whatever that reason is, if we haven’t been able to get lots of money ourselves, it must mean they’re better than us in some way.  We can try and deny that all we want, but that’s how pretty much every human culture has always worked.  It just is. 

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The Problem with Work

After a couple of weeks off, this week brings us to part four of our series, Finding Meaning. One of the places we turn to for meaning in our lives is often our work. And that makes a lot of sense at first blush. After all, by the nature of the beast, we invest a lot of our lives there. We might as well try to get as much out of it as we can. But as with pleasure and wisdom, seeking meaning in our work is a trap and when it springs, it will leave us empty and searching. Keep reading to find out how we can get the most out of the work we do.

The Problem with Work

Have you ever done something that you knew, even while doing it, was a waste of your time?  I worked at OfficeMax in the print department while I was in seminary.  I really enjoyed the job and had a great boss.  My favorite part was working in production.  That kind of detailed and precise work was right up my alley and a nice break from school work.  We produced thousands of different documents while I was there from large format posters to bound workbooks to single copies.  If you wanted a document of any kind created, we could probably do it for you. 

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The Problem with Wisdom

In part three of our series, Finding Wisdom, we took a look at another common area we look to in order to find meaning for our lives. This week, we looked specifically at wisdom itself. Wisdom seems like it should be a good thing, but the harder we pursue it, the more we find that maybe it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Keep reading to see why and what we can do about it.

The Problem with Wisdom

College holds a special place inour cultural narrative.  In books,movies, and TV, it is heralded as a time for young people to go off to pursuehigher learning and to grow in wisdom—a journey that cannot be completedwithout a great deal of experience and experimentation.  And at one time, that was more true thannot.  Universities were generally staffedby men and women who were genuine scholars in their respective fields and werecommitted to shaping young minds with the knowledge and tools they were goingto need in order to find success in whatever field they happened to bepursuing.  Over the past generation orso, though, that classical mission has…morphed…somewhat. 

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