Diversification and Work Effort; Light and Darkness; Remove Grief and Anger

Ecclesiastes 11

Outline

1-5 | Diversification in investing; procrastination
6 | The rewards of effort can come at any time
7-8 | Don’t fear the light
9-10 | Learn while you are young to live to honor God and you will enjoy your life more

Reflections

This chapter can really be divided into two parts.  Verses 1-6 focus on the physical realities of life and verses 7-10 focus on the social / spiritual realities of life.

In verses 1-6, the Preacher is giving advice on managing the many physical blessings that God has given a person and that they have earned through their work efforts.  The first principle is that of diversification.  In other words, don’t put your eggs all in one basket.  Just as a farmer plants a variety of crops and will have different kinds of livestock, so too should others.

The reason the Preacher gives for this is that we don’t know when, why or how things will happen in the future: which direction the wind will blow or how strong, which direction a tree will fall on its own, if or how much it will rain, etc., let alone knowing how a baby is formed in its mother.

If we spend all our time looking for signs to confirm what we should or shouldn’t do, we won’t do anything.  We also don’t know which of our efforts God will choose to bless.  Consider the words of James with regard to making plans and trusting in God.

James 4:13-17 NASB Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” 14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” 16 But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. 17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

I recently watched a movie called “Road to Your Heart” on hulu.com.  It is similar to the movie “The Ultimate Gift” (amazon.com) in that a son/grandson is set to inherit a vast fortune from a father/grandfather who is dying and the father/grandfather decides the son/grandson needs to perform a series of tasks to teach the son/grandson some important lessons.  Ultimately, the most important lesson learned is that of cultivating relationships and making wise choices.  All the money in the world won’t make you happy if you can’t enjoy it with and help others.

That is the conclusion that the Preacher ends with in the second half of this chapter.  He has already addressed the idea of maintaining relationships in the proceeding chapters but now points the reader to making wise choices and to do the right thing so that when scrutiny (the contrast of light and darkness in verses 7-8) comes or we stand before God, we do not need to be ashamed.  The Preacher is especially adamant about removing grief and anger from a person’s life, beginning at an early age.

The conclusion is this, diversify your investments and work efforts as any could lead to God’s blessing, make wise choices that benefit others, and enjoy life now while you are living.

Lord, may we never presume to know how You will choose to bless our efforts or vacillate in waiting and choosing a course of action.  Strengthen us to seek every opportunity to help others and make wise choices in how we manage the resources You have blessed us with.  Give us wisdom through Your Word to guide us in all our efforts and bless us as we seek to help others.  May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, in Jesus name.  Amen.


Update: if you want to watch the movie “Road to Your Heart” it can be viewed on amazon.com

Ecclesiastes 11 - Diversification and Work Effort; Light and Darkness; Remove Grief and Anger
Ecclesiastes 11 - Diversification and Work Effort; Light and Darkness; Remove Grief and Anger
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