May 13

It is good that you should take hold of this, and from that withhold not your hand, for the one who fears God shall come out from both of them. Ecclesiastes 7:18

Reading Ecclesiastes tends to have the same effect on foolish people that preaching the gospel has on unbelieving people.  When unbelievers hear about freedom in Christ and about God’s approval coming from faith instead of what they do, they conclude that they don’t need to perform any good works.  They think they can go on sinning because faith is enough.  On the other hand, when we preach that good works are the fruit of faith, they think this is how they are saved.  So hearing God’s Word often leads to either arrogance or despair.  It’s very difficult to avoid either extreme and find the middle way.

The same thing happens when foolish people hear the teaching of Ecclesiastes on having a calm and quiet heart and leaving everything in God’s hands.  They infer that they don’t have to do any work if everything is in God’s hands.  Others, who are just as foolish, do the opposite.  They are much too worried and always try to control everything in every way.

However, we must find the middle way.  We should work diligently, doing whatever we can that doesn’t go against God’s Word.  But we shouldn’t evaluate our work on the basis of our own efforts.  Rather, we should commit all of our accomplishments, solutions, and successes to God.  The author of Ecclesiastes speaks both to those who are lazy in their work and to those who are too worried about it.  He tells them to submit themselves fully to God’s Word, as well as to work diligently.  So the author of Ecclesiastes provides a good warning to those who aren’t sticking to the middle way.

Life of Luther

Barnas Sears, D.D.

An historic and comprehensive biography of early Christianity’s most influential leader of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther.

Controversial and visionary, Luther’s life is revealed in this rare presentation of his work as an educator and church leader. From his birth and childhood, to his religious education, and the events leading up to the Protestant Reformation, you will discover the views and experiences that led to his excommunication by the Pope in 1520. Correspondence and accounts shed further light on Luther’s defiant translation of the Bible from Latin to the language of the common man.

This unique biography is reproduced from an 1850 American Sunday School Union original, and in it you will be introduced to the pivotal life of this enigmatic man before, during, and after one of Christianity’s defining events.

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