Whoever digs a pit may fall into it;whoever breaks through a wall may be bitten by a snake.Whoever quarries stones may be injured by them;whoever splits logs may be endangered by them.Ecclesiastes 10:8-9
As I sit here this morning, taking a bit of slow start to the day, I have time to reflect on various things. It is 7:41. I didnt get up at 6:00 or even at 7:00 today. Since I didnt have to go to work and Olivia didnt have to go to work, there was no rush. Theres been rain falling gently for the last 90 minutes or so, so my mind said, Stay in bed and avoid problems.”
Lifes problems can be best avoided, I think, by doing nothing. Think about it. If I never mow my grass, then I will never risk injuring myself with the lawnmower. If I dont drive anywhere, then I cannot get into an automobile accident. If I dont brush my teeth, theres no chance of me choking on toothpaste. I could go on.
In the verses quoted here, Solomon gives four examples of ways that work can seem to be foolishness. Is this to be read as saying that work is folly? Im not going to dig a hole, because I might fall into it. Or is he simply pointing out that every worthwhile thing has its attendant dangers?
Life has its risks. If I go through life without risk, then it is really not life. I wrote recently about Dean Potter, a famous climber who died in a BASE jumping accident. I dont have a lot of sympathy for people who risk their necks foolishly, but is such risk really worse than risking your life by not living it? Would you rather have your life cut short when youre doing something or to have your life cut short because you spent it sitting on the couch watching reruns of MASH?
Throughout Ecclesiastes, you run into that word meaningless. I try to make sense of that word by substituting Whats up with that?
Throughout this chapter and throughout life, we have a series of examples of things that dont make a great deal of sense. But our job is not really to make sense of life and all of its details. If you cut stones you might get hurt by them. Whats up with that? No, it doesnt seem fair. It doesnt really make sense, but thats just the way life is. Life under the sun doesnt always make sense, but thats okay. We cant hold out for sense. Instead, we just need to accept the risk. Then enjoy our food and drink and work. Thats the fate of man under the sun.