Dwelling on Death

Everyone has a tendency to suppress. Ask a guy what he’s thinking and he will almost always answer “nothing.” And while it is true that guys can actually think about nothing, sometimes it’s just not a desirable topic of discussion. It’s a natural tendency to dodge certain topics that will kill the vibe or ruin our mood.

One of those things we don’t like to dwell on is death – not just death in movies but death in real life. Nobody likes that.

Solomon understood that tendency very well, but he also understood the danger of it. I think Ecclesiastes is Solomon’s way of reasoning with readers to fight against that tendency.

Ecclesiastes 7:2 says, “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting.” In other words, give Solomon the option to spend his Friday night at a funeral or a party and he’ll choose the funeral. Sounds weird, but he explains why.

He says to choose the funeral because it is there you will think about “the end of all men.” This is Solomon’s way of saying the topic of death is actually very important. And the major theme of Ecclesiastes shows why dwelling on death is so valuable.

Go throughout the entire book and you’ll see “under the sun” mentioned over and over. Apparently there is a lot of vanity happening “under the sun.”

Someone living “under the sun” is not thinking far beyond what is seen around them. Their whole world is this world. They only see a small part of the picture. They’ve been so consumed with what is here that they’ve missed why they’re here. This is the vanity of life “under the sun.” It misses the real purpose and value of life and ends up wasting it.

Death is what lifts our eyes and causes us to consider what is important in life. This is why Solomon prefers a funeral. When faced with death, the living have an opportunity to lay it to heart (Ecc. 7:2). Everyone is going to die, but not everyone will be ready for their funeral. Dwelling on death is an open door to discover why you’re living while you’re living. And hopefully it directs our thinking to the most important death of all, the death of Jesus Christ.

“And [Christ] died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” (2 Corinthians 5:15)

This is where we find purpose for living and preparation for death: in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The ones ready for their funeral won’t be those living “under the sun” but those living for the Son.

– GM

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