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Friday, March 15, 2013

Amish work team in Lancaster County PA 3/13/13
As Spring approaches we are beginning to see evidence of field work such as this team we passed east of Bird-In-Hand this week. What is not seen in the photo is a young teenager on the implement behind the team. * The Amish attend school through 8th grade and then begin to work, although of course most of them have plenty of chores younger than that!

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"Chasing After The Wind"

"Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 2:11).

Today we have blistering cold winds coming from the west. Since our home faces a large open farmfield there's nothing to break the wind and we get the full brunt of the cold blustery air. But we'll take that, along with the periodic applications of manure, in exchange for the many pleasures we experience living out in the country! Our text speaks of "a chasing after the wind" so today we want to consider this phrase, which is found nine times in the Book of Ecclesiastes.

Laser levelWe have a laser level that Brooksyne bought for me at Harbor Freight Tools years ago that projects a tiny red dot. I've rarely used it for its intended purpose but have often had a great time when I use it as a toy for our cat "Dottie". She will chase that red dot tirelessly and never seems to catch on that it's an inanimate red dot impossible to touch, feel, or capture. But I sure wish I had the speed, agility and persistence she has, although she is slowing down as she approaches her 12th birthday. 

But as so often is the case there's a lesson here for life. I, as her all-knowing master (now that's relative of course!), realize the absolute futility of her chase regardless of how fast or persistent she is. I know that she's never going to get that red dot and grasp it in her little paws.

Chasing the windConsider our all-knowing Master (that's absolute) who watches His children chasing after the many red dots of life, such as trying to find fulfillment and happiness with money, trying to impress others with our material possessions, educational titles, political posturing, and so forth.

The writer of Ecclesiastes (Solomon) uses the colorful phrase, "chasing after the wind." In a descriptive language that all people of all generations can grasp, he describes the futility or meaninglessness of so many life pursuits. We all know how utterly futile it is to go chasing after the wind.

Nothing solid or tangible; no lasting pleasure or joy; no inner satisfaction results from the ongoing chase. Many major life pursuits perish and die in the enjoyment of them. Instead of yielding absolute and ongoing delight they only proved to be short-lived pleasures, over soon and leaving a thirst for something else.
This mindset drove Solomon onto other fruitless chases; "All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure" (Ecclesiastes 2:10a).

Solomon is surely among the most interesting people in Scripture. Although known for his great wisdom and many accomplishments, he failed in some foundational personal decisions. The Book of Ecclesiastes has elements that indicate his despair at life's pursuits. He was successful by virtually any worldly standard, yet he begins the book by stating, "Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless."

The Scriptures contain a wonderful promise concerning the prime pursuit we should all engage in life.  God speaks to us and declares, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13). Jesus gives us a simple key regarding what we are to pursue in life, but it seems we need to be constantly reminded, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" (Matthew 6:33).

Today let us beware of chasing after the wind or the illusive red dots that pop up in life. Let's make it our renewed and persistent goal to seek the Lord above all!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, it's the deception of the enemy that distorts the many worthless pursuits in life that will veer my heart off course from the goal of winning the prize for which You have called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All worthy pursuits are secondary to the the highest pursuit of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I am willing to lay it all down, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own...but the righteousness that comes from You on the basis of faith. Knowing Christ is a lasting goal that brings great reward not just here and now but forevermore. No more chasing in the wind but a lifetime pursuit of walking in the ways of holiness is what I seek after. It is through Christ Jesus that I commit to You, Father God, this worthy desire of my heart. Amen.

For reflection on prayer see Philippians 3:7-14

* Many of our photos of the Amish are taken by Brooksyne through the window of our van as I'm driving. Trying to be respectful and also snapping the camera at the very right instant can be rather challenging. There are numerous times we don't always get the shot we're seeking.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Seek Ye First"  Video  Maranatha Singers

"One Thing Have I Desired"  Video  Maranatha Singers

"Seek Me With All Your Heart"  Video  Paul Wilbur

"The Glorious Impossible"  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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