Collect of the Week (Proper 13-C)
O Lord, grant us wisdom to recognize the treasures You have stored up for us in heaven, that we may never despair but always rejoice and be thankful for the riches of Your grace; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Ecclesiastes 1:12-14 (From the OT Reading for Proper 12-C)
12 I the Preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 14 I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.
In the name of T Jesus.
When talking about the many aspects of life that confuse or confound, my dad used to say to me, “I’ve spent my whole life trying to figure it out.” Of course, the implied meaning wasn’t lost on me, even at a young age. In fact, my father’s statement wasn’t true at all—it was a figure of speech. And it was meant to help me understand that it is okay not to have an answer for everything.
In the passages above from Ecclesiastes, we hear the frustration of one who needed to learn this lesson. He had applied his heart, and been diligent in searching out answers to everything on earth. And when answers eluded him, he concluded that life must be meaningless, that “all is vanity and a striving after wind.”
But mankind isn’t supposed to know everything, or have answers to every question. Political and human affairs can be complex, and if not having all the answers makes life meaningless, then what good are the promises of God?
And that’s the point. Forgetting the promises of God will make life appear to be meaningless. But with the promises of God, given to us in Christ, life is full and rich no matter what questions are left unanswered. God knows all; we don’t. And the sooner we learn this, the better.
When we are given knowledge and understanding, we can give thanks, for we know from where it comes. When answers elude us, we can give thanks, for we know who has the answers. In this way, by faith, and as Luther said, “Let us deal with everything else as it comes into our hands, leaving to Him the concern about its outcome” (AE 15:25).
In the name of T Jesus. Amen.
O God of all mercies, You have begun Your good work in us. Continue, we pray, to fill us with all dimensions of wisdom and knowledge. Grant that the devil would have no power over us, but that our hearts and minds might be directed to the blessed hope of the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen (TLSB, p. 1051).