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On Meandering…

“It is better to focus on what you can see than to meander after your self-interest; this also is pointless and a chasing after wind.” Ecclesiastes 6:9 ISV

“Better what the eye sees than the roving of the appetite. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” Ecclesiastes 6:9 NIV

There are times when I find meandering to be the best course. When I am walking in a woods, it is fun to just meander around as I look at all the wonderful plants and trees and whatever animals might be brave enough to show themselves. Meandering means that I have chosen to wander aimlessly with no destination in mind. Meandering is for those times when I have no place special to be and nothing I have to accomplish. But meandering is not something I would want to apply to my entire life. There are times when I have things I need to get done and there are tasks to do in order to move on to the next step. Meandering does not allow us to achieve our goals and objectives.

What does “meandering” have to do with scripture? I am glad you asked! And I have included two translations for you to read for comparison. Just so you know, I happen to like the ISV translation of this passage in Ecclesiastes. Although, I also like how the Holman Christian Standard Bible calls it “wandering desire.” And of course, our desires can wander to places they should not go if we are not careful. Which is why the writer of Ecclesiastes gives us this warning: Don’t meander after your self-interests!

You know…we can get caught up in our own interests and forget that we live in a world filled with people. Not everyone is like us. Not everyone thinks like us. Not everyone has had the same experiences as we have had. And if we all did only what was good for us individually, we would be in bad shape as we all became more and more self-absorbed. That is why it is so important to find ways to volunteer. Not only does volunteering help others get their needs met, but it also gives our life purpose. I remember many years ago, Rick Warren wrote a book: A Purpose Driven Life.” I loved the very first sentence of that book: “It’s not about you!” And in reality, life is not about any one of us individually. It is about what we can do for our community, our state, our nation…it is about our purpose and our purpose isn’t about what we can do for ourselves.

Here’s the thing: We all need to decide what we stand for and then do something. What are you passionate about? What breaks your heart? Or what abuses of people or power gets your ire up? One way you can get involved, for those who live in Brevard County is to become a member of Brevard Justice Ministry. We are getting ready to begin our listening process. This is where people meet together in small groups and discuss what are the injustices, they see around them that shouldn’t exist?

Right now, we are currently fighting for an affordable housing trust fund because the cost of housing in Brevard County is more than most can afford. Unless you bought your home 20 years ago. But there are other injustices that need to be addressed too. What are those that we see that need addressed…which is again what the author of Ecclesiastes is saying to us…”it is better to focus on what we can see…” Unfortunately, it is easier to focus on what we want. But in doing that we ignore the things that will make our communities great for all people.

The thing is, there are times and places where meandering is appropriate…living our life with purpose isn’t one of them. So, what is your purpose? And if you don’t know what it is, then consider joining me and others as we try to right the injustices of the Brevard community.

Peace,

Pastor Beth

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