Nothing We Can Carry In Our Hands

The writer of Ecclesiastes tells us there is nothing we can carry in our hands from this world to the next. Egyptian Pharaohs tried. Given the evidence found in King Tut’s tomb when it was opened, we’d have to say they weren’t successful.

It won’t matter how much stuff we amass…wealth, possessions, accolades, awards…nothing we can carry in our hands will follow us to heaven. The only things of value which will have our names on them are things we cannot carry.

Sounds a little contradictory to our way of human thinking.

The impact we have on others, the memories we leave behind of our loving kindness and sacrifice, the investments we make in another’s life. Those are the things which last and go before us. We can’t carry those things in our hands. Those things are written on our hearts and the hearts of others.

What we invest our time and money in shows a great deal about our priorities.The writer of Ecclesiastes understood that.

Solomon, King David’s son, was the richest king in Israel’s history. He had wealth, fame, and waaay too many wives and concubines. He had everything he could image, still he wrote about chasing after the wind. Meaningless, meaningless was how he described the things around him.

At the end of his book, Solomon gave this conclusion. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

Solomon was unable to carry any of the wealth and riches he amassed with him when he died. None of his chasing after the wind went with him. It was all left behind for others to use and dispose of as they desired.

Same with us.

Our treasure is in our investment in the lives around us. It is in doing the will of God. Jesus told us we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and to love our neighbor as our self.

Those are things we cannot carry in our hands.

Those are the things we carry in our heart.

Where have we set our priorities? Are we amassing things we cannot carry in our hands?

In my early teens I read a poem written by missionary C. T. Studd. Although faded after all these years, the words from that poem are still there. I believe Solomon would find truth in the words.

Only one life ’twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.

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Everyone comes naked from their mother’s womb, and as everyone comes, so they depart. They take nothing from their toil that they can carry in their hands. Ecclesiastes 5:15 (NIV) 

I wish you well.


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Sunday Scriptures — Walk in Integrity

When we think of King Solomon, perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is his request for wisdom. Or we might question his wisdom when we read he had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines.

Either way, God granted Solomon’s request and added much more with the stipulation Solomon walk in integrity.

Wikipedia defines integrity this way.

Integrity is the qualification of being honest and having strong moral principles, or moral uprightness. It is generally a personal choice to hold oneself to consistent moral and ethical standards. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions. Integrity can stand in opposition to hypocrisy, in that judging with the standards of integrity involves regarding internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that parties holding within themselves apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy or alter their beliefs.

Near the beginning of Solomon’s reign, all was well. He performed his duty as king with wisdom and integrity. He built a temple for the LORD. A dream his father, David, held but one which God did not allowed David to accomplish.

Before long, however, Solomon began to compromise his beliefs.

He made alliances with foreign kings by marrying their daughters, a common practice of the time, but these wives worshipped idols. To accommodate them, Solomon built altars for their false gods. Eventually, they turned his heart away form the Lord. They encouraged him to worship their gods instead of trusting completely in God.

Solomon no longer walked with integrity before the Lord.

He compromised his faith to appease those around him and his own selfish desires, instead of being faithful to the One True God. He broke the covenant God established between them.

The Lord passed judgment on Solomon. The kingdom would be torn from Solomon’s  son and family.

As followers of Jesus, we are called to walk with integrity before the Lord. We are to be honest and exhibit strong moral principles. Our actions are to display integrity with honesty and truthfulness. We are not to compromise our beliefs to fit in with the world around us.

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And if you live in honesty and truth as your father David did, always obeying me, then I will cause your descendants to be the kings of Israel forever, just as I promised your father David when I told him, ‘One of your sons shall always be upon the throne of Israel.’

 “However, if you or your children turn away from me and worship other gods and do not obey my laws,  then I will take away the people of Israel from this land that I have given them. I will take them from this Temple which I have hallowed for my name, and I will cast them out of my sight; and Israel will become a joke to the nations and an example and proverb of sudden disaster. 1 Kings 9:4-7 (TLB)

I wish you well.


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