Ecclesiastes 101

For the last few months I?ve been living the book of Ecclesiastes.

Last April my wife?s mom passed away, so, for a variety of reasons, particularly that I had lost my mind, we decide to try to sell our home and buy her mom?s house, which is smaller, requires less maintenance, and hopefully will not have room for our two dogs. ?Because our present home is an older home, and coupled with the fact that I prefer watching TV to home maintenance, there are a few ?touch ups? we need to do to get the house ready for market.

The first thing we do is have my wife?s sister, a former realtor, go through the house and fire off suggestions in rapid succession while I follow her around frantically scribbling notes: 1) Repair soffit in back porch that?s sagged the last 3 years and remove bucket underneath full of rancid rainwater, 2) Remove medium-sized oak trees from gutters, 3) Paint every bit of wall surface Cookie Dough Bland, 4) Take down paintings and family photos so people can envision their own decor, like moose heads, mounted on the walls, 5) Replace broken bedroom window and brick that props it open, etc.

The actual cost of all the repairs turns out to be more than the asking price of the house, but hey, it?s worth it to sell it. ?The whole summer becomes an Extreme Home Makeover marathon, and I become Ty Pennington, only my entire crew consists of two hapless dogs who can?t wait to christen the new carpet in the den with their ?scent,? if you know what I mean.

A couple weeks ago we get a realtor, who I also follow around frantically scribbling notes on how to ?present? the place: 1) Hang white towels everywhere, place white bath mats next to tubs, and put baskets with white wash cloths on the bathroom counters, to give the impression that we actually practice good hygene, 2) Install air fresheners throughout the house – but make sure they are mild – because we want the house to have a hint of fragrance, but not the overpowering sweet smell of a teenage boy after he?s used Axe shampoo, body wash, and toothpaste, 3) Make sure all the toilet seats are down before anyone looks at the house, because we don?t want anyone to think we actually go to the bathroom, etc.

Finally, after cramming 9 years of home maintenance into 5 months, I really start liking our house.? But what?s ironic is that I’ve put all this work into the place just to leave it for someone else. Reminds me of Ecclesiastes 2:21:

Sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity…

I?m glad I?ve got something better than this world to look forward to, aren?t you?

photo by whereareyousimon

Remember Lot’s Wife

Jesus uttered this terse warning while teaching on his second coming (LK 17.32).

Lot and his family lived in prosperous Sodom.? Lot’s wife loved her home.? Her husband had done well for himself.? His flocks and possessions had grown so great that he and his uncle Abraham had to part ways.? He’d picked the choicest land when his uncle gave him the option.? Foolish Abraham, Lot’s wife often mused, how often had he regretted giving her husband first choice?

Sodom’s rampant sexual immorality bothered them, but they could take refuge in their beautiful home and many possessions.

Then one night Lot brought strangers home, and trouble came with them.? The men of the town pounded on the door, with shouts and catcalls, demanding that Lot give the strangers to them.? When Lot stepped out to try to reason with them, they almost tore him apart pushing to get in, until the strangers smote them with blindness.

Lot’s wife hoped the unusual guests would leave the next morning.? Instead, when dawn broke they told the family they needed to flee, for they were about to unleash mass destruction on the city.? Then they grabbed her and Lot and their two daughters and dragged them to the city’s outskirts.? They’d had no time to pack, no time to gather up precious heirlooms and family treasures.

?Run for your lives,” urged the strangers. “Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, or you’ll be swept away.?

They ran gasping, stumbling, staggering.? The sound of destruction crashing from the sky, so close behind they could feel the heat and wind generated from the fire cascading from the sky. Thunderous noise, explosions and screams filled the air.

“My home!? My jewels!? All we’ve worked for and struggled to gain all these years!? Lot!? I’m going back.? I think I can still save some things.”

Lot shouted above the noise to keep running, but his wife slowed down.? “There’s still time,” she said, slowly turning, as a massive wall of smoke and ash engulfed her.

Days later, Lot picked his way among the miles of charred and smoldering landscape.? Stinking carnage, everything covered with ash.? Burned carcasses, human and animal, barely recognizable. The acrid air almost unbreathable. Then he saw her.

A statue of salt.? Her arm reaching toward Sodom, her face fixed in a permanent scream.

Remember Lot’s wife.

Remember her love of the world, her attachment to things.? Her failure to wholeheartedly follow the Lord.? These things cost her her life.

Jesus is returning.? Invest yourself in heaven.? Give your life away serving others.? Give to the kingdom and the poor.? Follow Jesus with all your heart, and you’ll be ready when he comes.

photo by irioptika