It has a nice ring doesn't it? Thankfully Dave Bish Ministries doesn't exist. And it had better never exist. Not because I don't want to do 'ministry' - everything I do should be. But, because it might suggest I was trying to build a name for myself. My self-deceiving heart could probably come up with reasons to do that, which is at least one reason why I need to feel the sea-breeze of Eccesiastes.
This little book is fresh-air for our celebrity-intoxicated culture and it's christian imitations. Ecclesiastes gets under the paint and corrodes away the lies, trite-answers and escapism we covet. From the outside Dawkins says we're the climax of history, inside the liberal Christians look down on their forebears as primitive... but 3000 years ago The Preacher had already said it all. Innovation was already bunk by then. Nothing's new. Problems are not new. We're not the best generation, just the latest. And before long we'll all be forgotten. That's truer in the student world than most other contexts. Three years and the slate is clean.
Doesn't mean we can't achieve anything meaningful, we can. The investment of the greatest treasure is the key. Not your savings in Northern Rock, but the gospel into image-bearers, the gospel of God into the lives of those whose names have been written in the book of the slain Lamb since before the world began. That'll last forever. After seven years in Reading I'm aware that I'll soon be forgotten. And that's absolutely fine. The only one who needs to be remembered is Jesus.
Ecclesiastes is the kind of book that you wouldn't think belongs in the Bible unless God put it there. Which he did. Without it we'd be left to fantasy faith in which we imagine triumphalism and total satisfaction are on offer here. There is great joy but perfection eludes us in the frustrated creation. Admitting that leaves us free to engage in life rather than to play at escapism. It permits humility and confession of the experience of frustration. It liberates us to fail and to embrace life, banishing all forms prosperity theology.
And that's half of why I decided to study Ecclesiastes 1v1-11 with Kenny and Claudia last week. Meanwhile I started reading Lamentations in the train the other day...