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”; before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain, 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, 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— they are afraid also of what is high, and terrors are in the way; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along, and desire fails, because man is going to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets— 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, and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity.
The Bible: Ecclesiastes 12:1-8 ESV
Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker: and he that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished.
Proverbs 17:5 KJV
I once heard a Christian leader say that one of the reasons for reading the Bible is it speaks to us from a different time and a different culture. Stripping out time and place, including the vanity of moderns about themselves and their assumed superiority over previous generations, can lead us to truths that are universal. That’s why I am fascinated by this Parable in the Gospel of Matthew.
Could this parable be illustrating a truth that is in short supply today? Could it be suggesting that people should be expected to make decisions about their lives, including economic decisions, and be expected to live with the consequences? Could it be telling us that a big part of being human is to make choices and to live with the consequences? Could it even be that we need no Nanny-State to watch over our behaviour and to protect us, in our own best interests, from the consequences of our own actions?
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
The Bible is a book of bad news and good news.
First the bad news: Human beings are sinners. Our sin separates us from a holy and righteous God, provokes his wrath, and causes us to ultimately suffer death and eternal separation from Him. (Rom. 3:23, Rom.1:18, Col.3:6). More bad news: We are without excuse. As a result of our wickedness, we have suppressed the truth about God made known to us and are deserving of his righteous wrath. (Rom. 1:16-32)
That’s a bitter pill to swallow, but it’s not the end of the story. There is good news.
Continue reading Bad News/Good News Bible