A Living Faith in a Faithless World

While recently teaching through Ecclesiastes in our midweek service, I was impressed with how Solomon’s Spirit-wrought wisdom enabled him to make such practical observations and applications. They are for us today as well (Rom. 15:4).

Solomon’s administration of Israel began with God’s blessing. He accomplished great works in Jerusalem as he humbly performed his calling with the divine gifts he had received to serve God and lead His people (2 Chron. 1:1-12; 8:1-16). But when the heart of Solomon and the children of Israel turned from their God to the things of the pagan culture about them, hard times followed (1 Kgs. 11:1-13)—how similar to the day in which we live right now! Christianity’s wholesale shift to a new brand of evangelicalism, cultural conformity and outright apostasy is the norm. Add to this a global recession that has resulted from unbridled greed, and we have a desperate situation requiring us to give heed to God’s wisdom!

Solomon had learned firsthand that things, attainments and disregard for obedience to God were empty, worthless and devastating to a truly purposeful life. In Ecclesiastes, as he pours his heart out to the congregation of God’s people, he gives in a powerful and practical way what is really important—in every generation. He presents three admonitions in his concluding statements that caught my attention because they seemed particularly relevant to our present crisis.

First, by faith, keep investing so that God’s work can continue and expand, with extra caution and discernment needed due to the “evil” in the world (Eccl. 11:1-2 cf. 1 Kgs. 10:15, 22). Solomon funded merchantmen to sail the seas for the purpose of eventual gain. Simply put, lean times must not result in the halting of our support of ministry now or our investing in even greater ministry ahead. Adverse, unavoidable circumstances may indeed diminish our ability to give, but our burden and prayer for God’s work to move forward must never decrease.

Second, by faith, live every day for God’s glory and expend the effort and do the work necessary to faithfully fulfill His will (Eccl. 11:3-6). Notice in this text the king’s observations regarding daily labor in the field. Excuses for not working under favorable, sunny conditions will result in fruitlessness. But when our days are taken up with seeking to do everything for His glory, we know He will be pleased with that dedication (1 Cor. 10:31;15:58). Determination to do every task “as unto Christ” (Eph. 6:1-9) will produce confidence and joy even in difficult situations.

Third, by faith, trust in the Lord and His all-sufficient Word (Eccl. 12:9-14). Herein Solomon exalts the supremacy and inspiration of the written Word and its integral link to the Author of that Word, the Lord Jesus Christ. These “words of truth” are “given from one Shepherd,” the One whom His father David so loved and served. Reverence Him; walk in faith and obedience! The “great and precious promises” therein will also meet every need; no “global recession” can limit them! This is not only the source of life with a purpose but also the definition of the “abundant life” that God desires for each of His own—at all times.

— Pastor Dennis W. Costella (1948-2011)