In many ways, Scott was the quintessential outdoorsman—strong, bearded, and with a big smile. He loved nature, his family, and God, and he pursued those things passionately. Scott raised his family in the beautiful wilderness of Alaska, USA, in a small town of 5,000 people. He managed his own business for 18 years and was no stranger to hard work.
When he passed away suddenly at just 57 years old, he left behind a wife of 30 years, two daughters, a son, and a new grandson. His loss brought tremendous grief, and it felt as if something had been stolen from his family and friends with his passing. But as people shared memories and encouragement at his memorial service, tears were mixed with laughter, and the gospel was repeated over and over through his life:
“He was a strong man, but a weak man,” said one friend. “He was physically strong, but he wasn’t ashamed to completely depend upon God.”
“He received well,” said another. “He was open to receiving from God whatever he was given, and he treasured the gifts of his home in Alaska and his family.”
“He wasn’t a perfect man,” said a third, “but he was a man completely reliant on the Lord. He was quick to laugh and find the joy in life.”
They didn’t talk about Scott’s business acumen or career accomplishments. They didn’t talk about wealth he had accumulated—or for that matter, wealth that he had given away. They talked about his joy, his generous spirit, and the way he loved God. Not one, but several friends gave an invitation to accept Christ as Savior and said, “If Scott were here, he wouldn’t want you to leave this place without hearing the gospel.”
An old 19th century proverb says, “Shrouds have no pockets.” It means that when someone dies, nothing on earth can be taken with them. In the same way, the writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us that, “a person may labor with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it” (v. 21). This sounds like a meaningless tragedy that can easily lead us to despair. Is anything worthwhile, if all that we strive for will be given to someone else after we are gone? Are we doomed to a life of grief and pain (v. 23)? But Ecclesiastes also offers us hope for all our time on earth—there is One with whom we can find satisfaction.
For those who please God (v. 26), the perishable and finite things of this earth bring great joy as pleasures from the hand of our infinite God. We have a reason to find joy in eating, drinking, and finding satisfaction in our “work”—whatever activities and relationships God has called us to (v. 24). We are not “chasing the wind” but rather finding satisfaction in the life God has given us.
Scott’s legacy is one of complete trust and dependence on God. And because he relied on God so fully, he was blessed with the “wisdom, knowledge, and joy” that the author of Ecclesiastes talks about. Scott knew that the accomplishments, possessions, and victories of this life fade away in light of eternity. But because of his faith, he was able to fully love the people around him and take hold of the simple joys of life. He glorified God and found joy in eating, drinking, and working. How can you do the same?
—By Karen Pimpo, USA
Questions for reflection
- What do you want to be remembered for after you die? What is one small, practical thing you can do in the next two weeks to invest in that?
- Think of something that consistently helps you “take hold of the simple joys of life.” How can you make more intentional space for this in your schedule?
Need an easy way to ecc-ess the key lessons so far? Check out this ecc-xtra image to help you ease into the first two chapters of Ecclesiastes!