“It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting; for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.” (Ecclesiastes 7:2, KJV)
When we go to a house of feasting we celebrate life and enjoy reflecting on whatever and whoever has given cause for a feast, a time of sharing joy at accomplishments … the here and now going on around us.
Who doesn’t enjoy a party … going to a house filled with good food, good friends, and laughter? I have enjoyed many in my day, especially when I and my friends were young.
Life these days is offering me more opportunities to visit “the house of mourning” Solomon speaks of.
“The house of mourning” … it’s the place where we go to remember someone, celebrate their life, and mourn the end of that life … their passing away from our ability to be with them. And it is the “house” where one-day others will come to remember, mourn, and hopefully celebrate our own lives!
We don’t like to hear the words “death” or “dead.” Solomon is telling us in Ecclesiastes that as difficult as it is to face the death of loved ones and friends, there is a great deal of wisdom to be gained in “the house of mourning.”
It has been said that God balances our lives by giving us enough blessings to keep us happy and enough burdens to keep us humble.
Solomon, by inspiration, has given us a series of proverbs to let us know some better things, and that the wisest thing we can do is take the lesson of our own mortality to heart.
We can make use of money without entering the foolish quest for riches and pleasures. We can do what is right, fear God, and also enjoy life with friends in the few days under the sun which we are allotted … but in a way that falls between the boundaries of what God approves/disapproves of!
We are all headed to the same place … ETERNITY with God or without Him! Life is very short at best (Hebrews 9:27), and it is this reality that far too many of us would just rather not think about!
“The heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” Their minds and affections are consumed with the pleasures of this life, and they seem resolved to take as much of it in as they can.
“The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning.” Does the “heart of the wise” obsess about death? No! But the “heart of the wise” keeps thoughts of life, death, judgment, and eternity close to reflect upon … to meditate upon … realizing death is a reality of life and live accordingly!
Isaiah told Hezekiah “Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live” (2 Kings 20:1). I think about and even pause when reading this passage and find myself taking a closer look to see “if I have my own house in order.” Do you?
If we have chosen to live in wisdom, then our inevitable death is a time of celebration, as Paul writes in Philippians 1:21, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
Please consider the following: It’s not a question of IF we will live forever … but WHERE will we live forever!
And this is Solomon’s point: Decide while you still can … who and what has your heart! And the reason is clear and straightforward … because that choice determines where you spend eternity.
There is only one way to the Father’s House … that “way” is through Jesus Christ!
“I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)
Bill Fairchild, Jr.