Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me”.
Last week, we looked at Ecclesiastes and the meaning of chess. To humans, chess is a game. To a computer, it’s just another program. The author of Ecclesiastes programmed himself for maximum wisdom, pleasure, and wealth. But nothing satisfied.
Part of his disappointment was discovering that time disintegrates what we build and the randomness of life sucks the joy out of success.
The author says, “I hated all the things I toiled for under the sun, because I have to leave them to someone. Who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? Yet, they will control the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my effort and skill.”
Picture the writer building his legacy: houses and land, lucrative investments, a book on his habits of success. But how long will his legacy last? What if some fool takes over his business, and runs it into the ground? His book may be briefly popular, but it will soon go into the bargain bin, followed shortly by the blue recycling bag.
The author feels pain at life’s randomness, the chances he can’t control, the unexpected events that make or break his plans. Ecclesiastes says:
The race is not to the swift
nor the battle to the strong,
nor does food come to the wise
or wealth to the brilliant
or favor to the learned;
but time and chance happen to them all (Eccl 9:11).
Yes! There’s the element of dumb luck that contributes to everyone’s outcomes.
The author also says,
Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come:
As fish are caught in a cruel net,
or birds are taken in a snare,
so people are trapped by evil times
that fall unexpectedly upon them (Eccl 9:12).
People sit long hours at gambling tables, hoping time and chance will favor them. But it’s not only gamblers who roll the dice. Life itself is a gamble.
Our best laid plans run amuck. Amazon and Netflix stock surged in two years of pandemic, and now they are falling down. Under Bush, the Taliban were evicted from Afghanistan; now they’re back under Biden. A friend’s parents planned a lovely retirement–but one of them got Alzheimers.
Time and chance happen to all of us. There are no hot tips in life’s horse race, no sure-fire medicines, no safe harbors for my finances.
What to do? Should I factor luck and the clock into my life plan? Or is there a better way of going about living?
Our father, we hoped you would control the randomness of the world for us, that you would stop the tsunamis and protect your people from war and make us free to serve you. But time and chance happen to us all.
Teach us to be patient with ourselves, with others, with the world around us. Help us lose our overwhelming need to control. Help us go with the flow in good times and evil.
Teach us how to live in this world you have given us.
I’m Daniel, on the channel “Pray with Me”.
YouTube channel: Pray with Me – YouTube