The Fly in the Ointment


Dead flies in perfume make it stink...

[Ecclesiastes 10:1a, MSG]

fly_ointment_1024Life is good. For the most part that is, until some intruder, some interloper called confusion or despair, lament or grief, loss or (gulp) death comes crashing in. And then there is no telling where the mind and heart can travel. Like the proverbial fly in the ointment, life’s apparent setbacks can threaten the whole. Has everything come undone? How can I know the meaning of such things? Does life even have a meaning?

The ancient book of Ecclesiastes asked just such questions. In daring fashion, it pulls no punches, considers no realm of human questioning out of bounds.Some people are surprised by this. Some assume that faith is thinking happy thoughts, adopting a positive attitude, having confidence that things will turn out well. How could this little book be included in our Scriptures? Why is it there?

Faith, to be sure, is confidence, but not a false or untested confidence. Faith is willing to expose itself to the full gamut of questions. And that is why we need the book of Ecclesiastes. It poses the question to which the rest of the Bible is the answer.

In this series we would like to take the wrapper off our cultural tendency to avoidance, and be more honest about the tougher parts of life. Actually, the Bible tends to rub our noses in the harder parts. The Bible is a whole lot more honest about life than we tend to be.

Ecclesiastes may not provide the complete answer we need, but it does ask a lot of the right questions. In this series we are going to look at some of those questions, knowing with confidence that our faith is better for it.

Starts Feb 2, 2014