“Happy birthday!" greeted my friend Malou on the phone. Then she asked, “Where are you?"
“I am in Ecclesiastes,” I replied.
”Celebrating your birthday there?! Where on earth is it?!"
Right at home, where I was mercilessly sorting out previously-treasured earthly possessions and throwing them into plastic bags to give away to whomever could still use them: bags, green bottles, knick-knacks, clothes, footwear, magazines, etc.
Ecclesiastes is one of the Bible’s wisdom books believed to have been authored by King Solomon, the richest and wisest man who ever lived. The book reveals someone looking back on a life that was long on everything temporary but short on lasting rewards. The writing tone is world-weary and suggests that in the twilight of the writer’s years, he regretted his folly, pointing to a better, simpler life with God’s direction (Ecclesiastes 12:13–14).
The author likewise says that nothing made sense to him after experiencing pleasure and power. And yet, all through his life and in his search of its meaning, God’s hand had been ever present.
How encouraging to note that even when injustice and uncertainty reigned, he could lean on God’s protection. (12:13–14).
Verse 2 in chapter 1 of the NLT version reads:
Signature bags are heavy, or they have weight even when empty, because of their hardware. My aching shoulders now prefer weightless fabric bags, nameless and cheap with lots of pockets.
I am also in Ecclesiastes 3: 1 and 6b . . . "For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven . . . A time to keep and a time to throw away."
My green-bottle collection has to go, too. For what good are they on shelves gathering dust?
What do I need too many clothes for? I go out, at the most, four times a week so I need only four for those days!
Unused dinnerware and merchandise, out. Paper files, out. Scrapbooks, out. Frames and stands, out. Plaques and trophies, out.
I opened drawers upon drawers and kept finding more.
“Malou,” I replied, “I’ll call you back in a couple of hours.”
“Yeah, and tell me about Ecclesiastes. If it’ll take two more hours of your time, it must be a pretty good place for you to celebrate your birthday."
“It is. It’s full of grace,” I said.
Yup, on my last birthday, I spent the first hours in Ecclesiastes.