Listen to the commentary
Dashboards are the ultimate assist when you’re working to effectively manage a complicated structure toward a desired destination. Whether analog or digital, they capture – in one place – the critical metrics that, together, give the big picture allowing the person in charge to lead well…
We’ve pulled the vocabulary of our automobile experience into our organizational life; the resemblance is instructive. Just as the gauges in your car – or the readings in a cockpit – are essential for safe travel, the same imagery is vitally helpful as it applies to flying life into conditions that are anything but calm and serene. When the storms are on the radar and turbulence is certain, auto-pilot is a fool’s option: exercising expertise in challenging times makes all the difference in the journey.
Last week, we recognized that many of the folks around us are infected with anxiety that is impairing their ability to advance without suffering emotional trauma that will – at minimum – disallow the quality of life, day-to-day; at worst, that anxiety can trigger desperate decisions that disallow their ability to understand or achieve their real purpose in life. The Enemy is the Master of Mayhem; he’s at work around us and would love to compromise our capacity to achieve our divine Calling(s).
These are brutal times, by any measure… but the incidence of unfavorable conditions is not unique to the 21st Century. From Day #1 of the Christian era, Satan has been out to attack all whose approach to life has become eternal – and significant – while surrounded by majority cultures devoid of relationship with the transcendent God who still brings sanity and clarity while recognizing chaos.
The digital press has to update constantly in their effort to report “truth.” God is not their competition: His word – which is the ultimate Truth – needs no constant refresh. Though writing 3000 years ago – inspired by the Holy Spirit – Solomon the Wise King gave his perspective on our lives, today: “This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them – for this is their lot. Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil – this is a gift of God. They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.” (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20).
God is not bound by geography: there are currently 195 countries identified in our world, and His Truth applies throughout. There have been about 70 generations from Jesus’ birth to now; Truth has not required updates based on external factors linked with the passing of time. Truth is truth.
Two kinds of people – at the extremes of the socioeconomic scales – are addressed directly in this three-verse summation of life well lived.
First, the laborers on the left side of the bell-curve are in God’s spotlight: toilsome labor is their daytime reality. “Getting by” is their real-time status. To the question, “How are you doing?” God offers a best-answer: they’re satisfied. Life is tough, but God continues to provide.
Then, the opposite end of the bell-curve comes into view: wealth and possessions are their measure of achievement. What say they, based on God’s counsel? Gladness of heart is the true measure of success; that only comes from God, who makes it a preoccupation. Their situation is not “self-made;” Solomon recognizes it as a gift from God, entrusted to few to be managed for Him.
Both extremes are enjoined to do the same thing: “…for this is their lot.” “…accept their lot.” Dissatisfaction is a toxin that is in the modern American environment; the antidote is distributed by the God who assumes responsibility for the conditions entrusted to each of us to live and accept.
“They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.” The gauges on my dashboard – the ones that measure what really matter! – are all within the expected ranges that the Creator intended for me (and you!) that are healthy. Gladness of heart…
Take a look at your own indicators: how are you really doing, right now?