Old Testament Lesson
We see finally at the end of this book what it all comes down to. Fear God and keep His commands. In many ways, that is the exact best advice we can ever have. Ecclesiastes goes through every pleasure, every joy, everything in life, and to each thing it returns back the message: meaningless.
Only one thing has meaning, only one thing is of great worth and to be sought after: fear the Lord, obey Him. This friends, this is wisdom. Sometimes, I believe we have lost that fear of the Lord. Now, fearing the Lord doesn't mean that we are "afraid" of Him, but it does mean that we have a holy reverence for Him. And while God might not strike us down right this instant, He has the power.
A God fearing life is a life of obedience. Because we revere God, we obey. I believe that this is a good starting point for obedience, but it must move to love. God doesn't want us to follow Him because we are afraid of Him, but because we love Him. However must never forget that while God is to be loved, He is also to be feared. He is the creator of all that is, seen and unseen, and has more power than our minds can ever imagine. We must not turn Him into a magic genie or Santa Clause. He is God. He is other. He is to worshiped and respected, and yes, feared.
Phillip Yancey in his book The Jesus I Never Knew wrote this, " (Has the Church ) very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certified him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies?" Remember, the Lion has claws. Let us today, fear the Lord.
New Testament Lesson
We see in this passage two great admonitions for us. We should carry each other's burdens. But, we should also carry our own burdens. What does this mean? How can we do both? As Christians we should be looking to help whoever we can in whatever way we can. Is there someone that needs help? We are to help them. That is our Christian duty.
But, what of carrying our own burdens? We should not be looking to push off responsibility for ourselves to other people. We should each take responsibility for our lives and for our actions. My sins are not the fault of my parents or friends or anyone else. They are my fault. We cannot blame others for our actions. We make the choice. We commit the sin. We fall down. Now, when we see someone fall, we should stop and help them up, but we must not blame others for making us fall. We make the decisions, we face the consequences. Carry each other's burdens, carry your own burdens.
Yesterday, we read of Peter confessing Jesus as the Christ, today, we see Jesus rebuke him for thinking like the world. Isn't that how we are? One minute, our minds on the things of God, a minute later, our mind on the things of the world. Today, focus on God. Take time to make Him foremost in your mind. Take time to reflection upon Him in all that you do. Don't rush around so much today that you forget about. Peter forgot and was rebuked, even called the Devil. Today, let us not make the same mistake.