Read these six verses connectedly, in order to arrive at the meaning of the writer; and compare Ecclesiastes 2:1-12.
After the description Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 of the portionless condition of the dead, the next thought which occurs is that the man who is prosperous and active should simply enjoy his portion all through this life Ecclesiastes 9:7-10; and then Ecclesiastes 9:11-12 follows the correcting thought (see Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 note), introduced as usual Ecclesiastes 2:12; Ecclesiastes 4:1, Ecclesiastes 4:7 by “I returned,” namely, that the course of events is disposed and regulated by another will than that of man.
The person addressed is one whose life of labor is already pleasing to God, and who bears visible tokens of God‘s favor.
Now accepteth - Rather: “already has pleasure in.” Joy (the marginal reference note) is regarded as a sign of the approbation and favor of God.
White garments and perfume are simply an expressive sign of joy.
The works which we carry on here with the combined energies of body and soul come to an end in the hour of death, when the soul enters a new sphere of existence, and body and soul cease to act together. Compare John 9:4.
Device - See Ecclesiastes 7:25 note.
Chance - Or, “incident,” that which comes to us from without, one of the external events described in Ecclesiastes 2:14 note.
Time - See Ecclesiastes 3:1 ff.
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do - Examine here the What the How, and the Why.
(2) Faith; and
(3) The Holy Spirit.
II. How should these be done? With thy might.
III. Why should this be done?
My old MS. Bible translates this nervously: Whatever thinge may thin hond don, besily wirch: for nouther were, ne resoun, ne wisdom, ne keennyng schuln be a nentis hell, whither thou gost. Properly speaking, every sinner is going to hell, and the wisdom of God calls upon him to turn and live.
Young men should have broad ideas, wise plans, that they may make the most of their opportunities, catch the inspiration and courage that animated the apostles. John says, “I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.” An elevated standard is presented before the youth, and God is inviting them to come into real service for Him. True-hearted young men who delight to be learners in the school of Christ, can do a great work for the Master, if they will only give heed to the command of the Captain as it sounds down along the lines to our time, “Quit you like men, be strong.” MYP 24.1
You are to be men who will walk humbly with God, who will stand before Him in your God-given manhood, free from impurity, free from all contamination from the sensuality that is corrupting this age. You must be men who will despise all falsity and wickedness, who will dare to be true and brave, holding aloft the blood-stained banner of Prince Emmanuel. Your talents will increase as you use them for the Master, and they will be esteemed precious by Him who has bought them with an infinite price. Do not sit down and neglect to do anything, simply because you cannot do some great thing, but do whatever your hands find to do, with thoroughness and energy.... . MYP 24.2Read in context »
Many who possess real ability are rusting from inaction because they do not know how to set themselves at work in missionary lines. Let someone who has ability lay out before these inactive ones the line of work they could do. Let small missions be established in many places to teach men and women how to use and thus increase their talents. Let all understand what is expected from them, and many who are now unemployed will become true laborers. 6T 432.1
The parable of the talents should be explained to all. The members of the churches should be made to understand that they are the light of the world, and according to their several ability the Lord expects them to enlighten and bless others. Whether they are rich or poor, great or humble, God calls them into active service for Him. He depends upon the church for the forwarding of His work, and He expects His professed followers to do their duty as intelligent beings. There is great need that every trained mind, every disciplined intellect, every jot of ability, be brought into the work of saving souls. 6T 432.2Read in context »
The Lord requires His servants to be energetic. It is not pleasing to Him to see them listless and indolent. They profess to have the evidence that God has especially selected them to teach the people the way to life; yet frequently their conversation is not profitable, and they show that they have not the burden of the work upon them. Their own souls are not energized by the mighty truths which they present to others. Some preach these truths, of such weighty importance, in so listless a manner that they cannot affect the people. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.” Men whom God has called must be trained to put forth effort, to work earnestly and with untiring zeal for Him, to pull souls out of the fire. When ministers feel the power of the truth in their own souls, thrilling their own being, then will they possess power to affect hearts, and show that they firmly believe the truths they preach to others. They should keep before the mind the worth of souls, and the matchless depths of a Saviour's love. This will awaken the soul so that with David they may say: “My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned.” 2T 504.1
Paul exhorted Timothy: “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” “Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” What a weight of importance is here attached to the Christian life of the minister of God! What a necessity for his faithful study of the word, that he himself may be sanctified by the truth and may be qualified to teach others. 2T 504.2
Brethren, you are required to exemplify the truth in your life. But those who think that they have a work to do to teach others the truth are not all converted, and sanctified by the truth. Some have erroneous ideas of what constitutes a Christian and of the means through which a firm religious experience is obtained; much less do they understand the qualifications that God requires His ministers to possess. These men are unsanctified. They have occasionally a flight of feeling, which gives them the impression that they are indeed children of God. This dependence upon impressions is one of the special deceptions of Satan. Those who are thus exercised make their religion a matter of circumstance. Firm principle is wanting. None are living Christians unless they have a daily experience in the things of God and daily practice self-denial, cheerfully bearing the cross and following Christ. Every living Christian will advance daily in the divine life. As he advances toward perfection, he experiences a conversion to God every day; and this conversion is not completed until he attains to perfection of Christian character, a full preparation for the finishing touch of immortality. 2T 505.1Read in context »