ODJ: In the End

August 22, 2016 

READ: Eccl. 1:1-11, 12:11-14  

That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty (12:13).

The CEO quickly scanned the email from a company that makes and installs wooden doors. His community radio station needed new doors, but money was tight. Out of a sense of obligation, he hit the reply button and asked for a quote on a set of double doors. Moments later, he got a response. Turns out, Andrew hadn’t read the email all the way through to the end. The company had in fact offered the radio station a free set of doors!

I’ve recently realised how seldom I read an article, blog post or email all the way to the end. Knowing the ending, however, could provide me with a healthy perspective and perhaps a wonderful surprise!

King Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes towards the end of a life full of excess. His conclusion was that “Everything is meaningless...completely meaningless!” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). He continued, “Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content” (v.8).

We’d be left feeling pretty defeated if we stopped reading there. But the sum of Solomon’s words were meant to be “like cattle prods—painful but helpful. ...Like a nail-studded stick with which a shepherd drives the sheep” (12:11). His goal was not to leave us drifting aimlessly through life. Rather, he urged us to “fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty” (v.13), something we can do only by His strength.

As God leads us in following His ways, it’s good to know what happens in the end. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever” (Revelation 21:4). What a wonderful ending provided by God!

—Ruth O’Reilly-Smith

365-day plan: Luke 18:1-14

Read 1 Peter 1:13 and consider how what it says about the end times can inspire you to live well for Jesus today. 
Are you feeling hopeless and weary? Be reminded of what happens in the end! How can you bring hope and joy to others who need it today?