Paul’s Secret to Joy

A Cemetary on the way to Jamesport, MissouriEver hear that old song, “Dust in the Wind”?  Originally sung by a band called Kansas (Although Will Ferrell’s version is pretty funny).  All we are is dust in the wind.  It’s the basic message of Ecclesiastes.  How all that striving for material things amounts to nothing when you consider eternity.

The past few months I’ve been reading Proverbs while working a lot and searching business and career options that would fit my purpose.  But this past week, I’ve been reading Ecclesiates.  It’s a very different perspective on life.

Proverbs is for the young man going after his purpose, finding wisdom, finding wealth, trying to live right as a leader, etc.  But Eccleciastes is from an older man’s perspective.  Vanity, or meaningless, he calls our striving for more assets and power in the ratrace of life.  We think our technology is great?  Solomon says there’s nothing new under the sun.

I don’t have a lot of fancy stuff, but really being rich is relative.  Compared to other countries a typical American life is full of luxuries.  And compared to the days in history where there were plagues instead of ipads, we live like kings.

I mean as frustrated as I get with my old car, it still has a few redeeming features I enjoy like a decent stereo and great a/c during the hot weather.  Does that mean we just settle and don’t try to improve?  No.  Just stop whining.  Lose the victim mentality.  I don’t blame the government, the economy or my corporate job for my own circumstances and struggles.  And I’m very thankful for all that God has provided for me.


After all where else is food accessible so fast that our problem is not hunger, but obesity?  I get tired of hipsters complaining about how they have been “downtrodden” by “the man”, while wearing the latest fads, having the latest smartphones, and carrying lattes.  And really there’s nothing wrong with having those things, and I know they don’t all act like that.  But whatever style you wear or political leanings you have, the real problem is when you have a selfish mindset.

This thinking even gets into our churches and worship.  We sit there complaining or getting discouraged in our little churches, because we don’t have all the stuff like the conferences, you know, professional musicians, lights, technology, etc.

Playing guitar overlooking a mediterranean cityWorshiping in other countries opened my eyes.  In Mexico I saw the Holy Spirit pour out on drug rehab center with a blind worship leader who barely knew three chords.  Then there was a ministry trip in a muslim country.  You get a different perspective worshiping in someone’s house looking this way and that to see make sure authorities don’t hear you.  It makes you thankful that you can worship in your own country anywhere, whenever you want to.  Appreciate it now, as we might not always have it.

It’s easy to get tired of the lack of musicianship, or the mispellings on the projector, or the crackling sound system.  Trust me I’ve seen these things before, growing up in regular churches.  But in many ways we live like kings.  And even with our limited resources, it’s what goes on in our hearts toward God that matters.  That doesn’t mean we don’t strive for excellence and make efforts to improve.  We should definitely get away from the poverty or “small church” mentality in whatever country we live in.  Perhaps the complaining contributes to it in that it keeps us in discouragement.

Just remember, Paul said he learned the secret for every situation.   “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

Category: Dreams and Goals, Money and Business, Travel, Worship |

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