What is this life we find ourselves living? What is its meaning? Where can any one find fulfillment?
I am short of years, but there are many whose lives have been over before the point I have reached. If I waited until I had the years to make a man wise, I might never put these words on paper. Would this generation listen any more closely to me if I were longer of years, anyway? Since the length of my days on the earth is not known to me, I will rather put down these words now and risk being a half wit than wait until I am most certainly wise and risk not having the opportunity.
Men and women run after all manner of things in search of happiness, fulfillment, or contentment.
I looked out upon the world, and I saw men and women filling their waking hours with work they do not enjoy. I saw also people doing what they enjoy but doing it every moment they can. I asked myself why they do it, and I saw how often they look at their balances at the banks, how they kiss the checks given them by those who give them their tasks, how they dream and plan how they will use their bank balances; and I said in myself that they love money.
Is this what life is? Is this how men and women find fulfillment? I have seen that it is not.
For the sons and daughters of men say among themselves that they hate their jobs; that though they work hard, they don't have enough money; that if they can just make a little more money than they have, they'll be happy.
And I asked myself whether those who have that much money are happy. I looked at the men and women who have the money others wish to have, and I saw that they, too, say that they need more. And I remembered that the wise men of years ago said that a man who loves money will never be satisfied with money. I saw also that many who had money had many sorrows. I saw that having money often resulted in those around a rich person turning against the man or woman with money, and the rich person was often left with sorrows the money did not help.
I looked also at those who had little money, and I noticed that many of them were not only happy but also eager to share what little they had; and this I had not seen among those who loved money.
The chase after money, then, is like a chase after the wind. Someone once said that it's not difficult to make a lot of money, if all you want is to make a lot of money. Obtaining money does not make people happy or fill their hearts. This is meaningless and a great sadness to many.
Again I looked out upon the world, and I saw the sons and daughters of men filling their evenings and afternoons with activities to keep them in the same place as members of the opposite sex. I saw also people crying about their time with their romantic attachments, for one reason or another. And I asked myself why they put themselves through such pain, and I saw the looks they gave to one another, how they made hungry looks with their eyes and licked their lips; and I said in myself that they are consumed with sex.
Is this what life is? Is having sex the goal of life? Is this how men and women find fulfillment? I have seen that it is not.
For the sons and daughters of men say among themselves that they were betrayed, or that they were hurt by what didn't work out, and that they hate each other. And I saw that the chase after sexual gratification had caused them to bring hurt on themselves and others. For I saw that where they had not betrayed their partners by leaving them quickly, they had drawn their partner closer with the bonds of sex and made inevitable partings much more difficult.
And I asked myself if this was a certainty, whether one could enjoy sexual gratification without bringing hurt. I looked at the men and women I have known, and I talked to those I knew, and I realized that the only times the act of sex had not brought pain and suffering into people's lives was when it was within or shortly followed by a commitment to live together in love forever.
I looked also at those who had denied themselves the pleasures of sexual gratification, and I noticed that their hearts were free of a burden, that their relationships were unhindered by hurts and secrets of the past, and that they had wonderful experiences when they finally entered marriage, because they were able to let their partners into their lives whole-heartedly, holding nothing back from fear of pain. I had not seen this among those who engaged easily in sex.
The chase after sexual gratification, then, is like a chase after the wind. The only sure way to enjoy its pleasures without the pains of separation or betrayal is to wait until marriage to have sex. Obtaining sexual experiences does not make people happy or fill their hearts with joy. This is meaningless and a great sadness to many.
Again I looked out upon the world, and I saw that the sons and daughters of men said in their hearts that right living was the way to happiness and prosperity. I saw that they ignored the words of God and claimed a straight path for themselves. I saw that they trusted in karma and the goodness of the human heart, and I said in my heart, they wander like sheep but claim a straight path.
Is this what life is? Is this how men and women find fulfillment? I have seen that it is not.
For the sons and daughters of men do not walk a straight path unless their eyes are fixed on a point ahead of them and a line on the ground before them. Their desire is for pleasure, not righteousness. And I saw that the heart of man was wholly perverse; even when a man tries to do good, his intent is turned aside by the desire for comfort and wealth.
I saw that the sons and daughters of men cried out for justice, but that the hand of justice is slow to overtake the wicked. For when men look upon their neighbors and see wickedness, they do not seek justice. Instead, they envy the wrongful gains of their neighbors and shield their eyes, lest justice should find them when they themselves seek wrongful gains. And the eyes of the sons and daughters of men were dimmed by this envy and this desire for comfort and riches. And I saw also that when there was no envy, the tongues of men were still silent and did not seek justice, for they thought it worse to confront their neighbors than to let wickedness be done in their sight.
Trusting in the goodness of humanity, then, is like a chase after the wind. As it is written, the human heart is deceiving and desperately wicked above all things, and no man can know it. How much less can we trust our own hearts, let alone the hearts of others? Justice is slow, and in the hands of humanity, sometimes never comes, but Justice is always done in the end; God is not a man, that He should let the guilty go free of both punishment and consequence. The deeds of the wicked catch up to them in time; Whether that time is short or long, Justice will catch them and measure their recompense.
I am looking still.
What I have seen, I will tell.
More will come later...
To learn from your experiences is good, but to learn from the experiences of others is better.
Wisdom is better than riches, for riches are soon gone, but wisdom endures and gives dividends of health and joy.
People like someone who is right, but they often hate a man who knows he is right.
We do not get every answer as soon as we want it.
A question we do not know how to answer is not a question without any answer.
Entertainments are good for relaxing, and music is better, but spending time with God is more fulfilling than both.
The end of a thing is often better when the middle of it is difficult; Things sometimes become better in the end when things earlier didn't go as we wanted them.
The good is often enemy of the best. Many times, taking an opportunity that is good for us prevents us from having a later opportunity that is the best possible outcome. As in material matters, where an item may be sold for 10 silver coins when it could later have been sold for 30, so in spiritual matters, where the mate that seems good is married when later the mate God had planned comes along. Taking a good opportunity often removes the possibility of a better opportunity, so plan wisely when making decisions.
A man and a woman have equal value to the Lord, but they are not equivalent. God has assigned to men and women different roles, because God designed men and women to be complementary, not competitive. The roles God gave men and women were chosen to match our design, not to elevate one above the other. God is above us all, and we are all equal, none above any others.
Small decisions often reveal our tendencies in large ones. So don't think that a decision you make is too small to matter. Often, people who are watching you will judge you more by your small decisions than by your large ones.
Truth stands on its own like a mighty oak. It never needs support from lies or sin. Lies, like sculptures made of honey, need constant maintenance and propping up. While it is no certainty, the number of a man's words can offer a clue to the validity of his statements.
When you are wrong, as all eventually are, admit it quickly. For you will never become right so long as you insist on already being right.
To owe no duty is to have no power.
"Home" is the most beautiful word in any language.
The worst nightmares involve the jeopardy of something once safe and secure.
The unknown may hold many unsavory possibilities, but the spirit of a child sees the savory ones, instead.
Never gamble anything you are unwilling to forfeit, for as a garment will eventually fall apart, the point where you must part with what you have wagered will surely come.
Neither the Lord nor the Accuser has forgotten you. The Lord watches you like a shepherd; the Accuser, like a stalking lion.
Is love silent before harm? Is that why it is written that OPEN REBUKE IS BETTER THAN SECRET LOVE?
Do not mistake tolerance or acceptance for agreement. Many claim to want the one but mean the other.
If you hound, punish, or boycott those who disagree with you, you're not standing for diversity or freedom but against them.
Demanding that someone agree with you is not diversity, and punishing them for no other reason than their position on a matter is not freedom.
Doing so becasuse they point out an error in your behavior is defending license, not liberty.
Any thing is easy to do, if it is the only thing you want to do. Be single-minded, and you will achieve your one goal, but take care which goal you set.
For any lens that brings one thing into sharp focus blurs all other things.
When something goes wrong, you can assign blame or discover the cause, but approaching one means avoiding the other.
Accountable Leaders Generate Loyalty
Rigid Policies Inhibit Initiative
Clear Visions Encourage Investment
Shared Ideas Enhance Creativity
Wise Questions Encourage Consideration
Excessive Statements Elicit Doubt
False Tallies Increase Trouble
When someone does something just to annoy you, take a moment and decide whether there is really any positive outcome you'll get to by getting upset about it. If there isn't, don't reward the act with the expected response. Let it go by, and let God handle the consequences.
Passion isn't always exuberance.
Society can be quite unpleasant when we expect others to act responsibly while we choose to enjoy a life of careless selfishness and blame others for any negative consequences. Society works best when all act responsibly.
Most people will refrain from evil rather than be seen in it. While they do not choose not to do evil and do not fear the consequences of their actions, they fear getting caught.
One who demands silence about his threats or actions fears his plans being overturned. It is usually best to make his fear come true. Removing yourself from isolation decreases his power over you. While he may yet do evil, he cannot do it unseen. Any blood he sheds is on his own hands, whatever he tells his victims.
The extortionist and the abusive person are alike in this. While their victims remain silent, they are able to continue their schemes without end. When their victims talk to others, they are hindered in their ability to do harm without consequence.
Therefore, beware of anyone who tries to isolate you or to make himself your only source of information.
Number and variety in sources of information make finding the truth more likely. Anyone who tries to isolate you has something to hide.
What you have in life is usually not as important as what you do with what you have.
All men and women have gifts, abilities, and trials. Some use these for harm, but the prudent one uses gifts, abilities, and trials alike for better things.
All men and women have desires. Some are so strong they cause us hurt. But anyone can choose whether to act on those desires or to bring their desires into submission.
All men and women have doubts. The foolish let doubt keep them from seeking answers. The wise do not stop seeking until their doubts disappear.
All men and women have failures. Having a failure does not make a person a failure. The only true failures are people who give up on finding their place in God's kingdom. And no one is without failures, except God; Everyone else has failures, whether they are noticed or not.
A subtle change is easier to make, but a drastic change is easier to keep.
Avoid rewarding what you would avoid repeating. For what is rewarded is repeated.
Guard your thoughts. The thoughts you encourage in yourself today will be the attitudes of tomorrow. The attitudes you hold today will be the actions of tomorrow. The actions you practice today will be the habits of tomorrow. The habits you keep today will be your character of tomorrow. The character you have today determines the path your life will take. The easiest of these to change is the type of thoughts you encourage in yourself. Thoughts come and go, but the ones on which you dwell will be encouraged in you, so guard your thoughts.
Wise Son; Glad Father
Diligent Hands Make Riches
The one who aquits the guilty and the one who condemns the innocent are both disgusting to God.
People will curse a man who hoards what others desperately need, but the man who sells what he has when others need it will be blessed.
The one who scoffs at everything seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge is found easily by the one who is understanding.
The simpleton believes whatever he hears without question, but the prudent man considers where he will follow what he chooses to believe.
Going to either extreme of blind gullibility or blind cynicism will lead one away from wisdom and truth. Therefore, one must be both discriminating and receptive to find them.
The wise man wants to be correct and favors those who correct him, but a scornful man wants to be heard without question and hates his rebukers.
The Word says that open rebuke is better than secret love, and that the wounds of a friend are faithful, but that the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
It is better to have rebuke from one who cares a little than the deep love of one who does not tell you of it. And being hurt by a friend is better than being soothed by an enemy who means you harm.
One who is full or feels no need loathes even the sweetest dish, but one who is hungry finds any bitter thing sweet. Anything you offer to someone will be received according to the need that person perceives for it.
When a man shouts blessings at his neighbor in the wee hours of the morning, his blessing will be considered a curse. Therefore, be careful that you match the goodness of your intentions with thoughtfulness in your actions. If you do someone harm, your good intentions count for but little.
As iron sharpens iron, and as a grouping of coals stays hot where a single coal cools, so a man is sharpened by the company of a good friend, and kept faithful in a group of like-minded individuals where he would fail by himself.
As water reflects a man's face, his desires reflect his character.
The poor suffer when men and women do not hold anyone accountable. So, open your mouth and judge rightly the actions you see.
Put your trust in God. Don't try to live life by your wits; you aren't smart enough, strong enough, fast enough, or good enough. Honor God in whatever you do, and He will guide your steps.
Though your path takes you on a walk through fire or through deep floodwaters, God will be with you, and He will not allow you to be destroyed. Ultimately, you will reach a place that is good, that makes the journey meaningful and positive.