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On The Necessity of Virtues and Values

Of an Empowering & Inspired Leader

The term values is often confused with virtues although similar in meaning virtues are characteristics and attributes (qualities and aspects) associated with the nature of God whereas values are any principles, standards, or qualities considered worthwhile and desirable (Bredfeldt 2006). Furthermore, values are determined by one’s worldview and are based on personality, family dynamics, environmental factors, social factors, cultural aspects, political views and other views of social nature. One’s view on creation, God (or the lack of, and even economics shapes one’s values as well as how one perceives and pursues the acquisition of knowledge and wisdom. Additionally one’s values are mutable and change as one’s perception and perspective changes. Our values can be influenced and manipulated by the views and teachings of others and form the basis of our morality where as our virtues are God given. The two combined form the basis for Ethics.

Ethics can be divided into three categories.  At the highest level is our Virtue our concept of God and Evil or theodicy.  Western social concepts of virtues is credited first to the Greek Philosopher Plato who views justice as the highest virtue.  Justice forms the bond that holds all the other four virtues of wisdom, courage, temperance (Self-control) and continence (abstinence from immorality especially sexually desire) in unity and congruency. Additionally, only through the exercise of knowledge and the power given within our soul can ultimate good be achieved for the form is an imperfect copy and our senses are inferior matter or existence is imperfect while essence (soul, God, spirit, knowledge) is perfect and unchanging and is the basis for all things (anonymous 2016).  The second level is one’s personal and family conception of what is right & wrong (general morality) and at the base is secular law or social and corporate structure.

Virtue, Values & Vices

Aristotle built upon Plato’s concepts but came to a different conclusion. For him matter and essence are inseparable and both are derived from God. The lower form matter thereby originated from the deity and all action originates from the potentiality of motion (anonymous 2016).   For Aristotle virtues are God given but must be developed in training and discipline in what he called means. If we for example wish exemplify High-Mindedness (Wisdom) but the over development of it this will lead to the excessive vice of pride (boastfulness, vanity). In Contrast a lack of development will lead to the vice of deficiency of foolishness ( humble-mindedness) Thus for Aristotle, virtues fail as a result of two categories’ of vices one of deficiency and one of excess as a result of a lack of discipline and training.

Aristotle’s list of virtues and vices are listed on the following chart (anonymous 2016).

VICE OF DEFICIENCY VIRTUOUS MEAN VICE OF EXCESS
Cowardice Courage Rashness
Insensibility Temperance Intemperance
Illiberality Liberality Prodigality
Pettiness Munificence Vulgarity
Humble-mindedness High-mindedness Vaingloriness
Want of Ambition Right Ambition Over-ambition
Spiritlessness Good Temper Irascibility
Surliness Friendly Civility Obsequiousness
Ironical Depreciation Sincerity Boastfulness
Boorishness Wittiness Buffoonery
Shamelessness Modesty Bashfulness
Callousness Just Resentment Spitefulness

 

Finally, one is to practice self-love and friendship or love of others, which is a communal relation, and peaceful and beautiful state of existence with the world in general (anonymous 2016). Furthermore, justice is both general and special in that it applies to the observance of both secular and moral law in occasional circumstance such as judicial and economic matters and is abstract in some instance for absolute justice, which is corrective, and often retaliatory is necessary in moral conduct and common decency.

God cannot be comprehended by practicing normal human moral insight; rather one finds God in happiness in being (anonymous 2016). For Aristotle, pain and pleasure of the mind and soul is the motivation behind the virtues and thus desire for higher pleasure one strives for the highest virtue of high-mindedness through the pursuit of knowledge, wisdom and the disciplines of means or pursuit of the other Godly virtues.

From a Biblical the character of the leader should be developed out of disciple and training from the study of God’s word, meditation, prayer, a life of obedience of faith ( reliance, dependence and trust on Christ and the Holy Spirit).   One must additionally die to flesh – born to Spirit (Rom. 12) and be without boastful pride and in loving humble servitude and in a unity of heart and mind that imitates the likeness of Christ (Phil 1-6). Through the transformation of one’s mind through various spiritual disciplines and the resistance of temptations and living by Christian Ethics, one is granted Spiritual Gifts for the glory of God and service (Rom 12-15).

Additionally, one is to be follow the guidelines of Christian character and conducts as outlined in 1 Tim: 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. This ethical code is similar to the classical code of the Greeks and summarized lists certain desirable traits of conduct for leaders and elders of the church. However, this code should become the basis for all believers conduct, as it is list some basics guidelines for virtues besides those in Romans 12-15. The Fruit of the Spirit, which results from discipline practice and training, is the highest virtues (Gal 5-16-26, Col 3:1-17) and is only given by the leading and granting of the Holy Spirit. Both lists also contain some of the more common sins or depravities of Humanity.  One should recall from Romans 1-8 Paul reminds us all though the Law illustrates us the nature of our sin and we may have all intentions to do good deeds, works actions or even obey out of obligation of the Law. Because of our sin even after being justified or declared citizens of distinction worth and righteous (elect, saints). Will fall short. Thus only by the atoning cross can any of us be truly forgiven, and it is by Christ grace and mercy that all faith is based not by anything we can accomplish. WE however must with the aid of the Holy Spirit striving to become transformed dying from the temptations of sin, forgiving others as well as our self, empowering others and spreading the Gospel to the fallen world serving as Christ like teachers in faith, hope and love.

Courage

Courage is essential and is the result of Endurance, perseverance, and often times suffering.  Courage is the ability to face one’s fears, standing firm in strength in one’s convictions and is a discipline virtue that arises from faith and relying on the practice of truth in times of crisis, adversity or suffering. Courage as a virtue is the assurance of the interdependence working of God in total trust and reliance in any situation or occasion of danger (whether perceived or actual).

Thus, with that aid of the Holy Spirit and the Authority given to the believer by Christ the sovereignty will insure the outcome is in the best interest of the Trinity of God and for his divine creation and Eternal- kingdom.  Additionally courage sparks the passion and not always the sensibility of the individual leading to actions in a situation. Wisdom is the application of knowledge, virtues, and vales in a manner that practical and is thus sensible and heartfelt or appropriate in any given situation.

Truth

Truth can be absolute or relative based on assumptions, feelings, false input of one’s senses or misguided views or actions. The Bible in inerrant when God, Christ or “The Angel of the Lord says or the Holy Spirit gives direct directives. However, the Bible is also infallible meaning it is the means and ends of achieving Faith. Both doctrines of the church are human perspectives and can be supported by the Biblical Evidence.

However, the Bible is not fully inerrant or infallible in itself and never makes an exclusive claim for one or the other. Rather truth and faith (Spirit) matched with authenticity should be seen as the Biblical doctrine  Biblical intake and teaching requires the ability to differentiate, evaluate and incorporate  historical, occasional, cultural, situational, universal, personal and finally current relevancy (Duvall and Hays 2012, 235-246).

To make a claim that either truth of faith or works or goodwill (deeds) are to be separated or combined in any a+ +b or b+ d or any other combination to achieve salvation is missing the mark. The truth is all are inseparable and holistic parts lived and in of obedience of faith for the suffering Bondservant of Christ. One style of leadership or church will not be fitting or reach and meet the needs for all people and doctrines of man will divide. Each view has strengths and weakness as every man has strength and weaknesses (Bredfeldt 2006).

The Key of Wisdom

The key is discernment with biblical guidance and application of general revelation, assessment and our experience. This enables one as an individual, the Body of Believers or universal communal church, and all who are willing to hear, see and receive the Atoning Sacrifice of Christ and the Good-News in a manner that leads to a profession of faith and the empowering and ongoing transformation to the Eikōn. This New Adam – New Kingdom fulfillment, will be granted  when final salvation and full restoration is completed upon Christ return which is only possible with the aid of others and the Holy Spirit brought forth in humble, and accepting discerning teachings of love grace and mercy.

 

Uniqueness & Diversity: The Character of a Leader

What defines ethics and sound character will vary from subculture to culture and will differ even by some degree with in the individual heart and mind of each person. A worldview is simply how an individual perceives the world and his place in creation. It is influenced by family dynamics, cultural customs, ethnicity, nationality, religious views ( doctrines and dogma & beliefs), peer pressure, inspiration, philosophical ideology, political perception,  economics, innate vales & talents , God given virtues ( often unrealized or undeveloped), knowledge, and wisdom. This list is far from complete.

Sin is the adversary of character and is like a genetic curse inherit in all humanity. Sin leads to opposition to the guidelines of the Law that is Holy and the basis of our virtuous morality. Only through Christ atoning sacrifice are we worthy and significant free from blind obligation to obedience of the Law.  In correlation by the leading of the Spirit sanctified and ethics is thus written on the heart of all who live obediently in and by faith (Rom 6-8).

Our strengths and weakness need to be assessment and evaluation and at times God uses not our strengths but our weakness ( Gen 50:20)  for the benefit his divine purpose ( Matt 28: 18-20 must be done in conjunction Matt 22:33-39). Finally, Philippians 1-11, Titus 1:6-8, 1 Timothy 3:2-7, 1 Corinthians 13, Galatians 5, Romans 12-16 as well as Matt 5-7, Eph 5, Col 3:5, and Rom 1:18-32, Rom 2-6). The Good News is since all are declared righteous and redeemed by Christ and love writes the Law on one’s heart in transformation, obedience and willing service of love.

The individual and community is being transformed and restored as long as we keep trudging running, persevering, suffering thru the race of life and praising and glorify God in all things. Thus, doing our part to advance the completion of God promise of salvation and inclusion of all who are willing into the New Adam ( Man)- Perfected reconstructed Eternal kingdom of God when Christ returns to reign in the Eschatological Age (Moo 2000).

In God, Christ and Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

 

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Bibliography

anonymous. Ancient Greek Philosophy. Edited by James Fieser, Bradley Dowden, & Kirby Jeremy. 2016. http://www.iep.utm.edu/greekphi/ (accessed May 01, 2016).

 

Bredfeldt, Gary J. Great Leader, Great Teacher: Recovering the Biblical Vision for Leadership. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2006.

Duvall, Scott J., and Daniel J. Hays. Grasping God’s Word. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012.

Moo, Douglas J. Romans. NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000.

 

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David, King Over All Israel, as in 2 Samuel 5:...

David, King Over All Israel, as in 2 Samuel 5:1-12, illustration from a Bible card published 1896 by the Providence Lithograph Company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

firsttempleThe First Three Kings of Israel:

 

The first three kings of Israel, Saul, David and Solomon both men of strength and weakness. In this essay I will illustrate why Israel desired a king. I will show each kings virtues and faults and ultimately why they were rejected by God and the outcome of this rejection.

 

Why did the people of Israel desire a king?

 

Previous to the time of Samuel, The nation of Israel was ruled by Judges. The Israelites fell into disfavor with God and several Judge/Prophets were called upon to redeem the people.  The book of Judges gives an account on how these heroes were called upon to save the Hebrews from her enemies. It should be noted that all the heroes of the age were flawed. Samson had a weakness for women, despite his gift of great Strength. Gideon was a coward. Barak was a reluctant leader and would not even enter battle unless Deborah accompanied him, and Ehud was left handed. It may seem strange to many but God often uses those with disadvantages to accomplish his great purpose. It is in my opinion this is to show his omnipotence, and so others are aware salvations is available to all who seek and serve his will.  However, during the time of Samuel the leadership of the judges became increasingly ineffective. Dissention spread among the population. According to Ed Hindson and Gary Yates “Because a judge could only partially and imperfectly administer Torah (legislative function), execute Justice (executive function), and condemn law-breakers (judicial function), a king was need who could more effectively fulfill all three roles. The stories in Judges also, show that that not just any king could effectively govern the nation but rather a king who honored God’s covenant”[i]  It was time for a king but who was Israel to choose?

 

SaulWhy was Saul chosen, and ultimately, why was he rejected?

 

According to Hindson and Yates “The people seemed to focus on Saul’s outward appearance rather than heart.”[ii] In 1 Samuel 9:2 It states: “Kish had a son named Saul, as handsome a young man as could be found anywhere in Israel, and he was a head taller than anyone else.”[iii] The Bible also states: In 1 Samuel 16:7 “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”[iv] The nation of Israel was eager for a change. Despite the warnings of Samuel and the predictions of previous prophets, which states the king was to come from the tribe of Judah not Benjamin, the Israelites rushed into choosing Saul as the first King. His victory over the Ammonites boosted national support but was not enough to restore covenant faithfulness to the land and to the people. Samuel continually warned Saul to obey the Mosaic Covenant and the commandments of God but Saul repeatedly ignored these requests. This as well as his blatant disregard to annihilate the Amalekites and his use of the power for his own glory caused him to fall into disfavor with God.

 

This reminds me of one of my favorite Scripture quotes “Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.”[v] Saul was failing the Hebrews needed a new king who was to be chosen?

 

David and GoliathWhat attribute did David display that made him a better king than Saul?

 

During the reign of Saul a new hero emerges into the nation Israel. A shepherd boy defeats the mighty Philistine champion after no Hebrew soldier will meet his challenge” Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.”[vi] David quickly rises through the ranks of Saul’s army and becomes one of the greatest military generals in the nation’s history.  Saul grows jealous of the growing support of the people behind David as his power wanes and sends him into battle and then into exile. However, Even Saul’s own Son, Jonathan and his daughter Michal support and rally behind and save David from the vengeance of Saul. Tragically Saul dies after becoming insane and his son is killed because of his father’s sins. However David falls in love and marries Michal.

 

David is the king that was prophesized to Hebrews and Israelites. In the Bible God calls him a man after his own heart. The first few books of second Samuel record the deeds of David. He consolidates the nations and establishes the Davidic Covenant. After the king was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, He said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent. “Nathan replied to the king, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you. “But that night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying: “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in?  I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’ “Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth. And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies. “The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’”[vii] David also captures Jerusalem and extends the borders of Israel into the Fertile Crescent (to the banks of the Euphrates) and to Egypt bringing taxes and wealth to the land. More importantly he relocated the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. This symbolizes God’s supremacy and blessing over the land David purchases the land prophesized in preparation of building the Great Temple of Jerusalem. Unfortunately, since David is a man is war and not peace he himself can only plan and not build the temple that task will have to follow onto a future king which seems to frustrate David.

 

David also excels as a king as he seeks both his prophet Nathan and God for guidance. He continues to worship and praise God even in times of distress. (As shown by his writings in the Book of Psalms.)

 

Despite his strengths David succumbed to sin himself. He sent Uriah out in battle to die so he may sleep with his wife Bathsheba. David has a son with Bathsheba and for his sin his son dies. Also David’s own son led a rebellion against him. Despite the above mentioned sins and more outlined in 2 Samuel, God honors the Davidic Covenant and a son is born to the House of David. The Great King Solomon wisest of all kings.

 

solomonWhat sin did Solomon commit that ultimately led to the division of Israel after his death?

 

Although Solomon was granted wisdom by God, succeeded in building the first Temple of Jerusalem, achieved international recognition, abundance and prosperity flourished throughout the land and he expanded the borders to that of The Abrahamic covenant, he too fell into Covenant Disobedience by marring with foreign women and engaging in polygamy. He also relied more on his wealth and wisdom than God and like Saul allowing his pride to stunt his spiritual growth.  Unlike Saul, Solomon reconciles with God and to basically states “Wealth, Wisdom, Women and the ways of the world are nothing. Only Ones relationship with God matters” (In Ecclesiastes although I cannot remember exact verses)

 

This Covenant disobedience however leads to a long line of weak kingship in Israel and Hebrew history.  It is important to notate the difference here as the Kingdom becomes dived into a North and a South Kingdom. The Northern Kingdom (Israel, Samaria,) falls to the Assyrians in 722 B.C. The Southern Kingdom (Judah, Hebrews, Jerusalem,) fall 140 years later to Babylon. For failure to honor the Sabbath, intermarriage with foreigners, Idolatry, and overall sin God exiles Israelites into slavery for 70 years. It is should be noted however that it is through inter marriage with a foreign women that the Davidic Lineage is restored to pave away for the Messiah to come Also Ester, through marriage to King Xerxes,  a foreigner, is used to save her people from destruction during the time of exile as well.

 

In conclusion, the first three kings of the Hebrew people were desired to bring order as the reign of Judges proved to be in adequate. The books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicle teach us even the kings proved to be incapable of fulfilling and maintaining God’s Law, The Abrahamic, Mosaic, and Davidic Covenant. The Davidic Covenant and House of David paved the way for the Messiah to come. The above books illustrate that an earthly power can never fully administer God’s Law, that all of us are victim of sin and only a Messiah can set us free. The reign of David and Solomon paved the way and fulfilled the prophecy for Christ to come. Without The Temple and the House of David we would not have had a Savior. For all their faults the first three kings were instrument in changing the world and paving the way for Christianity.

 

 

 


[i] Hindson, Ed. and Gary Yates. The Essence of the Old Testament: A Survey ( Nashville: B&H,2012),148

[ii] Hindson, Ed. and Gary Yates. The Essence of the Old Testament: A Survey ( Nashville: B&H,2012),164

/[iii] http://www.biblegateway.com. Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

[iv] http://www.biblegateway.com. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers

[v] http://www.biblegateway.com. American Standard Version, Copyright © 1901 by Public Domain

[vi] http://www.biblegateway.comHoly Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

[vii] http://www.biblegateway.com. Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

 

DaliObservations of Perceptions:

Diligence vs. Laziness & Wisdom vs. Folly

Diligence as defined by http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/diligence is: “constant and earnest effort to accomplish whatis undertaken; persistent exertion of body or mind.” [i]  In comparison Laziness is an adjective of the noun lazy as defined byhttp://dictionary.reference.com/browse/laziness?s=t:“averse or disinclined to work, activity, or exertion; indolent.”[ii]

In The Bible there are many references to diligence and laziness. The Book of Proverbs contains a wealth of information on this topic:

“Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth (Proverbs 10:4).”[iii]

This verse teaches us not remain idle, that we must work for what we have. Laziness will result in are down fall. This may be both in a material and Spiritual sense.

“The lazy do not roast[a] any game, but the diligent feed on the riches of the hunt. (Proverbs 12:27).”[iv]

This verse states a similar message; one must work hard in order for their needs to be met. It uses the analogy of hunting and the rewards of the blessing of feeding off a successful hunt. This metaphor reminds us also that by are deeds we are rewarded, that we cannot back idly waiting for life to happen or to be provided for. We must live a life of action.  It does not say that God will not provide for us but simply states we need to do what we can for ourselves, our family, our nation…

Two synonyms of diligence are work and labor. In Ecclesiastes the Author, King Solomon, has the following comments on work:

“What do people gain from all their labors

    at which they toil under the sun?

4 Generations come and generations go,

    but the earth remains forever.

5 The sun rises and the sun sets,

    and hurries back to where it rises.

6 The wind blows to the south

    and turns to the north;

round and round it goes,

    ever returning on its course.

7 All streams flow into the sea,

    yet the sea is never full.

To the place the streams come from,

    there they return again.

8 All things are wearisome,

    more than one can say.

The eye never has enough of seeing,

    nor the ear its fill of hearing.

9 What has been will be again,

    what has been done will be done again;

    there is nothing new under the sun.

10 Is there anything of which one can say,

    “Look! This is something new”?

It was here already, long ago;

    it was here before our time.

11 No one remembers the former generations,

    and even those yet to come

will not be remembered

    by those who follow them (Ecclesiastes 1:3-11)[v]

What is Solomon saying? The fruit of labors, our deeds, our achievements and our legacy have no meaning and will not bring happiness. Although they are necessary for our survival we need to trust in God first and concern our self with spiritual matters for true satisfaction. The ways of the world lead only to despair and misery.

Solomon Goes on to say In (Ecclesiastes 3:22) “So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?”[vi]

This question-statement of wisdom reminds us to make the best of our situation remembering our time on spent on this world is short lived. We should enjoy our lives, every aspect of it. However, we should not seek to be prideful or worry about leaving a legacy. We do not have a clue what will happen to the work and deeds we leave behind so why worry about it. Live in the moment.

Wisdom is defined in http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/wisdom  in this manner: “the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.”[vii] Folly is defined in http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/folly as “the state or quality of being foolish; lack of understanding or sense.”[viii] In the Book or Proverbs there are numerous illustrations of wisdom and folly:

“The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly (Proverbs 15:14).”[ix]

This scripture reminds us to seek wisdom and at times to remain silent. If one does not have the answer one should remain silent. Truth and knowledge is divinely inspired and at times based on experience. It reminds us to check the validity of our sources and the basis of our information.

In other words one must not keep the company of fools.

“A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the Lord (Proverbs 19:3).”[x]

This passage serves to remind the reader that ignorance and foolish actions not only lead to destruction but angers God.

“The simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge (Proverbs 14:18).”[xi]

This comparison teaches us to handle all our affairs in a wise, sober, practical and rational manner.

There are countless other passages on folly and wisdom in Proverbs. Some warn against the evil of the tongue, others against anger and sin.

The book of Psalms also has much to say on Wisdom:

“The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom and their tongues speak what is just (Psalms 37:30).”[xii]

This is a reminder to speak out against what is wrong, to speak the truth and to spread God’s message. It also serves as a refrain from gossip.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise (Psalms 111:10).”[xiii]

This passage serves as a reminder that God is in control of all things. From God true wisdom flows. A wise person keeps his commandments and deserves his honor.

The Bible in general serves as a wealth of information on the topic of diligence vs. laziness and wisdom vs. folly. In the New Testament it states:

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength (1 Corinthians 1:25).”[xiv]

“It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30).”[xv]

1 Corinthians shows us that only by God, Christ and the Holy Spirit, not our own wisdom, are we saved. Wisdom, knowledge, deeds, accolades, and earthly pleasures will not bring you happiness or grant you eternal; life. “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6)[xvi]

In Christ,

Trenton Rindoks


[i] “diligence.” Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 29 Apr. 2013. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/diligence>.

[ii] “laziness.” Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. 29 Apr. 2013. <Dictionary.comhttp://dictionary.reference.com/browse/laziness>.

[iii]http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+10:4&version=NIV .New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

[iv]http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+12:27&version=NIV.New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

[v]http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ecclesiastes%201&version=NIV.Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

[vi]http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ecclesiastes%203:22&version=NIV .Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide

[vii] “wisdom.” Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 29 Apr. 2013. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/wisdom>.

[viii] “folly.” Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 29 Apr. 2013. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/folly&gt;.

[ix] http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+15:14&version=NIV.Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

[x] http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+19:3&version=NIV.Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

[xi]http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+14:18&version=NIV .Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+37:30&version=NIV [xii] .Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

[xiii]http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+111:10&version=NIV .Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

[xiv]http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Corinthians+1:25&version=NIV .Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Corinthians+1:30&version=NIV [xv] .Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

[xvi] http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%2014:6-9&version=NIV.Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Is There Time for Everything “Under the SUN?”

(What Solomon Teaches on Worldly Trappings)

During my morning meditation, I came across some words of wisdom I wish to share. I have been reading 31 days to Happiness[i] as one of my sources of inspiration.  31 days of Happiness is a study that teaches one to use The Book of Ecclesiastes and King Solomon’s revelations to break free of world entrapment.

In Chapter 5, David Jeremiah analyses Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, which states:

A Time for Everything

3 There is a time for everything,

And a season for every activity under the heavens:

2     a time to be born and a time to die,

A time to plant and a time to uproot,

3     a time to kill and a time to heal,

A time to tear down and a time to build,

4     a time to weep and a time to laugh,

A time to mourn and a time to dance,

5     a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

6     a time to search and a time to give up,

A time to keep and a time to throw away,

7     a time to tear and a time to mend,

A time to be silent and a time to speak,

8     a time to love and a time to hate,

A time for war and a time for peace.

Versus 1-3 deal with our physical life reminding us that our life is temporary and planned by God. The Author also points out however that our body decays and heals as part of a natural process as we age, that cells regenerate every seven years after decaying, and life and death are a natural occurrence in God’s world. Christians should not fear death any ways. Christ states in 1Corinthians 15 (MSG):

Resurrection

15 1-2 Friends, let me go over the Message with you one final time— this Message that I proclaimed and that you made your own; this Message on which you took your stand and by which your life has been saved. (I am assuming, now, that your belief was the real thing and not a passing fancy, that you’re in this for good and holding fast.)

3-9 The first thing I did was place before you what was placed so emphatically before me: that the Messiah died for our sins, exactly as Scripture tells it; that he was buried; that he was raised from death on the third day, again exactly as Scripture says; that he presented himself alive to Peter, then to his closest followers, and later to more than five hundred of his followers all at the same time, most of them still around (although a few have since died); that he then spent time with James and the rest of those he commissioned to represent him; and that he finally presented himself alive to me. It was fitting that I bring up the rear. I don’t deserve to be included in that inner circle, as you well know, having spent all those early years trying my best to stamp God’s church right out of existence.

10-11 But because God was so gracious, so very generous, here I am. And I’m not about to let his grace go to waste. Haven’t I worked hard trying to do more than any of the others? Even then, my work didn’t amount to all that much. It was God giving me the work to do, God giving me the energy to do it. So whether you heard it from me or from those others, it’s all the same: We spoke God’s truth and you entrusted your lives.

12-15 Now, let me ask you something profound yet troubling. If you became believers because you trusted the proclamation that Christ is alive, risen from the dead, how can you let people say that there is no such thing as a resurrection? If there’s no resurrection, there’s no living Christ. And face it—if there’s no resurrection for Christ, everything we’ve told you is smoke and mirrors, and everything you’ve staked your life on is smoke and mirrors. Not only that, but we would be guilty of telling a string of barefaced lies about God, all these affidavits we passed on to you verifying that God raised up Christ—sheer fabrications, if there’s no resurrection.

16-20 if corpses can’t be raised, then Christ wasn’t, because he was indeed dead. And if Christ weren’t raised, then all you’re doing is wandering about in the dark, as lost as ever. It’s even worse for those who died hoping in Christ and resurrection, because they’re already in their graves. If all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we’re a pretty sorry lot. But the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries.

21-28 There is a nice symmetry in this: Death initially came by a man, and resurrection from death came by a man. Everybody dies in Adam; everybody comes alive in Christ. But we have to wait our turn: Christ is first, then those with him at his Coming, the grand consummation when, after crushing the opposition, he hands over his kingdom to God the Father. He won’t let up until the last enemy is down—and the very last enemy is death! As the psalmist said, “He laid them low, one and all; he walked all over them.” When Scripture says that “he walked all over them,” it’s obvious that he couldn’t at the same time be walked on. When everything and everyone is finally under God’s rule, the Son will step down, taking his place with everyone else, showing that God’s rule is absolutely comprehensive—a perfect ending!

29 Why do you think people offer themselves to be baptized for those already in the grave? If there’s no chance of resurrection for a corpse, if God’s power stops at the cemetery gates, why do we keep doing things that suggest he’s going to clean the place out someday, pulling everyone up on their feet alive?

30-33 And why do you think I keep risking my neck in this dangerous work? I look death in the face practically every day I live. Do you think I’d do this if I wasn’t convinced of your resurrection and mine as guaranteed by the resurrected Messiah Jesus? Do you think I was just trying to act heroic when I fought the wild beasts at Ephesus, hoping it wouldn’t be the end of me? Not on your life! It’s resurrection, resurrection, always resurrection, that undergirds what I do and say, the way I live. If there’s no resurrection, “We eat, we drink, the next day we die,” and that’s all there is to it. But don’t fool yourselves. Don’t let yourselves be poisoned by this anti-resurrection loose talk. “Bad company ruins good manners.”

34 Think straight. Awaken to the holiness of life. No more playing fast and loose with resurrection facts. Ignorance of God is a luxury you can’t afford in times like these. Aren’t you embarrassed that you’ve let this kind of thing go on as long as you have?

35-38 Some skeptic is sure to ask, “Show me how resurrection works. Give me a diagram; draw me a picture. What does this ‘resurrection body’ look like?” If you look at this question closely, you realize how absurd it is. There are no diagrams for this kind of thing. We do have a parallel experience in gardening. You plant a “dead” seed; soon there is a flourishing plant. There is no visual likeness between seed and plant. You could never guess what a tomato would look like by looking at a tomato seed. What we plant in the soil and what grows out of it don’t look anything alike. The dead body that we bury in the ground and the resurrection body that comes from it will be dramatically different.

39-41 You will notice that the variety of bodies is stunning. Just as there are different kinds of seeds, there are different kinds of bodies—humans, animals, birds, fish—each unprecedented in its form. You get a hint at the diversity of resurrection glory by looking at the diversity of bodies not only on earth but in the skies—sun, moon, stars—all these varieties of beauty and brightness. And we’re only looking at pre-resurrection “seeds”—who can imagine what the resurrection “plants” will be like!

42-44 This image of planting a dead seed and raising a live plant is a mere sketch at best, but perhaps it will help in approaching the mystery of the resurrection body—but only if you keep in mind that when we’re raised, we’re raised for good, alive forever! The corpse that’s planted is no beauty, but when it’s raised, it’s glorious. Put in the ground weak, it comes up powerful. The seed sown is natural; the seed grown is supernatural—same seed, same body, but what a difference from when it goes down in physical mortality to when it is raised up in spiritual immortality!

45-49 We follow this sequence in Scripture: The First Adam received life, the Last Adam is a life-giving Spirit. Physical life comes first, then spiritual—a firm base shaped from the earth, a final completion coming out of heaven. The First Man was made out of earth, and people since then are earthy; the Second Man was made out of heaven, and people now can be heavenly. In the same way that we’ve worked from our earthy origins, let’s embrace our heavenly ends.

50 I need to emphasize, friends, that our natural, earthy lives don’t in themselves lead us by their very nature into the kingdom of God. Their very “nature” is to die, so how could they “naturally” end up in the Life kingdom?

51-57 But let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I’ll probably never fully understand. We’re not all going to die—but we are all going to be changed. You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes—it’s over. On signal from that trumpet from heaven, the dead will be up and out of their graves, beyond the reach of death, never to die again. At the same moment and in the same way, we’ll all be changed. In the resurrection scheme of things, this has to happen: everything perishable taken off the shelves and replaced by the imperishable, this mortal replaced by the immortal. Then the saying will come true:

Death swallowed by triumphant Life!

Who got the last word, oh, Death?

Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now?

It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!

58 With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.

Versus 4-5 teach about our emotional life.

It teaches us basically mourning, celebrating crying, anger, and expressions of affection are all part of who we are in God. We must learn to embrace our emotions and express them in the right contact. We must not hold in our emotions when they need to be released but need to learn to contain them when it may cause undo harm. Basically it states there is a time and a place for every thin “Under the Sun”

Verses 6-8 teach us about our spiritual life, our difficulties in life. It also reminds us that the tongue can be our enemy.

New International Version (NIV)

Taming the Tongue

3 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.

3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

This section also teaches us that at times hatred and war are also necessary.  We  should hate sin, but love the sinner.  Remember what is said in Psalms:

I will not look with approval

on anything that is vile.

I hate what faithless people do;

I will have no part in it. (Psalm 101:3)

I hate and detest falsehood

But I love your law. (Psalm 119:163)

If you continue, reading Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 it explains that even ones work and achievements are meaningless.  Solomon explains that either what you build someone will destroy or it will eventually decay. Worse yet you may be forgotten or someone may claim your deeds as their own! The Chapter goes on to point out we came from dust and will return to dust so we might as well enjoy are time here. It should be cautioned and noted that Solomon also in Ecclesiastes concluded wealth and hedonism leads to a separation from God, Loneliness and ultimately empties and destruction.

So what is the ultimate answer to true happiness? After studying many religions and philosophical paths, I concluded. There are two choices:

Spend all your time doing good deeds and try to achieve balance with the universe (for the non-religiously inclined)or to empress some divine being or host of beings

Salvation (For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NIV).


[i] David Jeremiah 31 Days to Happiness searching for  Heaven on Earth (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2004)

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