9:11,12 “I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come.”
Ecclesiastes 9:11,12 (NIV)
Normally, when the month of March comes to American households, something else comes too: Madness! Basketball tournament games fill our calendars, monopolize our screens and consume our attention. Players, coaches, and fans … we all lean in, so much so that our whole culture terms this month “March Madness.”
March Madness reminds us that what’s real madness is placing too much confidence in our ability to predict, to control. That’s why the wisest man who ever lived, King Solomon, delivered today’s humbling, cautionary words in Ecclesiastes 9. We need them.
Instead, here are some of the certain lines we should build our lives and brackets around:
* Truth is not relative. Truth is a Person (John 8:31,36; John 14:6,7).
* I am not self-made (Psalm 100:3).
* God created me as I am (Psalm 139:13-16).
* God loves me as I am (Romans 5:8; Ecclesiastes 8:12; Psalm 130:7).
* The center of the universe is not me, it’s God (Colossians 1:17).
* God has a plan and purpose for me (Proverbs 19:21; Romans 8:29).
* God has gifted me to serve (1 Peter 4:10,11).
* Christ died for me -- and the whole world (1 John 2:2).
* Heaven is real, and so is Hell (Psalm 103:19; Matthew 6:19,20, Matthew 13:44; Mark 9:43-48).
* It is appointed unto men once to die, and after that the judgment (Hebrews 9:27).
* Salvation is by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8–10).
* Those who honor God, God will honor (1 Samuel 2:30).
* Whatever you sow, you will reap. (Galatians 6:7,8) And you can reap even more than you sow (Mark 4:8; Matthew 25:21),
* The greatest is the servant of all, and the way up is down. (Mark 9:35; Mark 10:43; Matthew 23:11; Proverbs 18:12).
(Many more bracket-buster truths like this can be found in Scripture.)
What’s madness is continuing to set our own definitions for life, for truth, for wins … to keep entertaining other options and pick a way of life and worldview apart from God. What’s madness is trying to control more than we should.
What’s wise, what’s best is to closely, passionately, faithfully follow Jesus.
Reflect: What bracket-building bullet above jumped out at you? Are you trying to control, manage, predict too much? What area of your life needs more surrender to God’s control? And what step today could you take in that direction?
Have you memorized Jeremiah 9:23,24?
A prayer to consider: Sovereign Lord, You know best! By Your Spirit help me to only control the controllables and nothing more.
And help me to build my life brackets around what You have to say and what I see in Jesus. Help me to believe that doing it any other way is madness. Amen.