Reading

  • Eccl. 12:9-10; 7:7-12, 19-26; 10:1-11:6; 12:11-12; 7:1-6, 15-18, 27-29; 8:1

Devotional

1 A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth. 2 It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart. 3 Frustration is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. 4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure. 5 It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person than to listen to the song of fools. 6 Like the crackling of thorns under the pot, so is the laughter of fools. This too is meaningless.
(Eccl. 7:1-6 NIV)

In what way can it be better to go to a house of crying and weeping than to a house filled with laughter? If we had to choose whether to be in times of enjoyment or in times of sadness, I would guess nearly all of us would choose enjoyment. We like to be happy. We like to feel good. But GOD says that it is better to be in the house of mourning than feasting. Attending a funeral or a wake where people are grieving over a loved one who passed away reminds us that this life is short, and that we too will have our time in the casket when our days here are over.

This causes us to reflect on the choices we've made—and are currently making—to think, "What would GOD say to me if I were to die right now?" Heb. 9:27 says that "it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment." We get one chance to live and our choices in this life affect our destiny in the next life.

All of these things come to our mind because of being in a house of mourning. None of these thoughts are likely to enter our mind in a house of enjoyment and laughter. There the focus is upon the present moment. So be careful that you don't pass up the opportunity to go to the house of mourning, for you just might leave a little (or a lot) wiser than you entered!

Tim Harris
Author: Tim Harris

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