Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Work of the Wise, Part 4: Limitation (Ecclesiastes 12:12)

Part 1 and Parts 2 and 3

"But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body."
A. The work is not to be endless: land the plane. Beyond this, beyond the practical and edifying ministry of teaching people the truth of God, there lies vanity. Writing of many books is endless: understand there's much to be done; you can write books endlessly (ayn kaitz). But do not make writing books a goal itself –this vain conceit, other than what helps us to obey God is vanity (12:13-14). Do not go further for what is useful and profitable for the people. Being a writer without truth is endless; people never get anywhere ("ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth," 2 Tim 3:7) since there is a lack of focus, fulfillment, and closure.

B. The work is not to be exhausting
: study (lit) for application. Great study is a labor to the flesh: understand there's hard work in teaching (1 Tim 5:17). Devotion is good and needed; but to be excessive is enervating to the soul, not spiritually energizing. As the Lord loves a cheerful giver, so once it gets beyond cheerful, stop giving! The goal of learning is living and giving, not learning for its own sake. “How wise one feels walking out of the bookshop with a book under his arm!” Like a lawyer learning the law but not wanting to set the captives free. Thus, writing and reading that doesn’t serve and teach the truth is spiritually useless, wearing to the soul and unrewarded. Keep your eye on the ball: the goal of ministry is to help and encourage people to obey God and follow His word (12:13). Everything will be evaluated and judged (12:14) according to truth of God’s word and did it accomplish the administration of God (1 Tim 1:4).

The work of the wise disciple is to make wise disciples who work. :)

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