“Words…given by one Shepherd” (Eccles. 12:9-11).
The twelfth chapter of Ecclesiastes tells us that words are weapons ? for good or ill. It says, “Not only was the Teacher wise, but also he imparted knowledge to the people.” Apparently it takes work to be wise, and to put your wisdom into words. Words, like the “goads” and “nails” used to prod cattle from a depleted pasture to a green one, are the tools God uses to move people from meaningless-ness to meaningful-ness and from empty-ness to useful-ness. That’s what the writer of this little book did.
Growing up listening to Churchill and Hitler, I had a perfect example of how words can be used for God or for Satan. When one, as the teacher says, gets the words from “one Shepherd” (we know Who that is don’t we!), then they bring life to the hearer and light into a dark world. Words move people to decision. They inspire, rebuke, and instruct.
They will only have power to do this as we spend time with the Shepherd. In fact, unless my words have been in the throne room worshipping, I can forget them impacting the people who listen to them. Years ago I captured that thought in a poem:
Give my words wings, Lord
May they fly high enough to reach the mighty,
Low enough to breathe the breath of sweet encouragement upon the downcast soul.
Give my words wings, Lord,
See them now, nesting down at Your feet,
Silenced into ecstasy,
Home at last.
Ideas and words sent firsthand from the one Shepherd, Jehovah Himself, who will declare His power to the people who are living in the shallow places where everyone lives, are received, as I often say, in the deep place where nobody goes, as you sit on the steps of your soul, with the “golden book,” outside God’s front door.
I have found that my life and ministry are only as powerful, rich, and effective as the time I spend with God. I must find my way to the “waiting room” a hundred times a day, where He is waiting for me to wait! I must learn quietude, however much the “busy Grinch” howls. Strangely, in finding quietude so I can hear His voice, I can begin to gather words that work and live my life out loud.
However many good things there are to do -- good programs to organize, good meals to cook, good children to manage, good soccer games to attend, good messages to prepare, and good people to meet -- I must above all, work at good intimacy with God, for this is where the power lies. Power to live a life of meaning and purpose, and to declare that power to this troubled generation.
I commend the reading of Ecclesiastes, this little Old Testament book that walks down the centuries into a world tired of its toys!
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