Chasing the Wind			LCBC 8-22-99pm


Introduction

Parents rate their inability to spend enough time with their children as the greatest threat to the family. In
a survey conducted for the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Corp. , 35 percent pointed to time
constraints as the most important reason for the decline in family values. Another 22 percent mentioned a
lack of parental discipline. While 63 percent listed family as their greatest source of pleasure, only 44
percent described the quality of family life in America as good or excellent. And only 34 percent expected
it to be good or excellent by 1999. Despite their expressed desire for more family time, two-thirds of those
surveyed say they would probably accept a job that required more time away from home if it offered higher
income or greater prestige. 

This may be what has brought the downfall of the American family. People are working
longer hours with less to show for it and are spending more time away from their family.
Not only that, but when they are at home, they usually too busy getting caught up on
other things to have very much quality time with their families.

I  think that many people are chasing the wind. If you ran really quickly, could you catch
the wind? If you were the fastest sprinter on the planet could you catch the wind? If you
were in the fastest car, could you catch the wind? No, even if you did meet up with it, it
would still slip through your fingers. 

Tonight, I want to ask you if you are chasing the wind.

This phenomenon was originally defined by the writer of Ecclesiastes. Let's examine
some of us thoughts this evening:

Read Text-	Ecclesiastes 4:4-6

People are so very busy in our society. Why? This writer may have some of the answers:

T.S.- Are you chasing the wind? 

I Wind-chasing often springs from envy (v.4)

Exposition

The writer of ecclesiastes searched for the meaning of life. He felt that riches, endless
toil, and pleasures were all meaningless in the end. He does admit that these things have
a temporary value, but that the only ultimate source of meaning is God. God was the one
thing that was not meaningless.

In is examination of those who are constantly busy, busy, busy, working harder and
harder and harder he noted that a lot of people's efforts stem from "man's envy of his
neighbor."  As such he declares that people are chasing the wind, which in the end is
meaningless.

Application

Have you ever thought about a friend or neighbors house, clothes, cars, or even money
and wished they were yours? Has the thought of being able to afford certain luxuries or
purchase certain things motivated you to work longer and longer hours? If so, this writer
would name you a wind-chaser.  Examine your motives. Examine the things you desire.
Do you really need them? Are they really that in important? Because in the end your
house, your car, your clothes, your bank account, your favorite or most desired thing will
not matter at all. The only thing that will count for something is your relationship with
God. 

 When your busyness affects your time with your family it has a negative effect. You only
have so many hours in a day. Do you make a conscious effort to set aside time to spend
with your family? Or do you spend all your time away from work rushing around and
doing other things?

Ill.-	A young boy once asked his father how much money he made an hour. The father had jsut come
home from work and was irritated by the question. He thought, that kid wants to know how much I
make so he can hit me up to by him something. The Dad looked at the boy and said gruffly,
"That's none of your business." 
The boy teared up, but kept silent and left his Dad alone. The father began feeling guilty about it
and when it was time to put his son to bed, he decided to tell the boy. He said, "son, I make
somewhere around 25.00$ an hour."  The boy smiled and said, "Daddy can I borrow $15.00?"
The Father was instantly furious.  "I knew it!!," he said, "You just wanted to know so you could go
buy something!" The boy started to cry again and was really noisy about it, which made the father
angrier thinking he would not be swayed by his tears this time. He left the boy to cry himself to
sleep.  The next morning he felt a little guilty, because he rarely had any time to spend with his
son, so before he left for work he pulled out $15.00 and gave it to him. The boy's face lit up and
he ran up to his room and came back down. He handed his Dad $25.00. The father said what is
this for? The boy smiled and said, "Daddy, I want to buy one hour of your time."

Are things really that bad? A recent survey showed that Father's spend less than five
minutes of meaningful interaction with each of their children a day.

Are you chasing the wind?

T.S.-	The writer of Ecclesiastes does not care much for wind chasing, but he does not
that honest work does have value.

II	Wind-chasing is not solved with laziness	(v. 5)

Exposition

The writer notes that a fool just refuses to work.  He just sits on his hands and does
nothing. What would be the end result if you just decided to never work again? You
would be ruined along with the fool.

Application

Never think for a moment that I have been suggesting that people should not work and
when they do work hard. The Bible again and again validates the importance of honest
labor, it is sinful to be lazy and not work for the money you are paid. Or even to not work
at all and not provide for your family. It is sinful to not provide for your family. It is also
sinful to reward someone who is too lazy to work. Paul once wrote that if a man won't
work, neither is he to have any bread. In other words, no loaf for the loafer. Which is
what our government is doing. When you refuse to work at all, you become ruined.

Laziness is sinful and it ruins a person in the end. It is not the solution for those that no
longer want to chase the wind.

T.S.-	The writer of Ecclesiastes does have a solution. He believes that work and other
busyness needs to have a balance.

III	Wind-chasing is solved by balancing busyness with tranquility (v. 6)

Exposition

Look at what he says in v 6, instead of folding your hands together, make sure one hand
is full of "tranquility". The word for tranquility is the Hebrew word for rest. Rest means
more than the absence of physical activity. It also conveys a rest of your mind. Prov.
29:17 uses the word advises that correcting one's son will give you psychological rest. It
is also the same word used in the ten commandments. Remember who God all along
knew we needed to rest. He commanded that we set aside one-day for this purpose and
devote it totally to him. This rest is not only physical and mental, but also spiritual. It
means a rest whereby you are spiritually at peace with God. 

Our writer to tells to have one handful of this rest, the other of course is to be filled with
work. He again notes that two hands filled to the brim with work and busyness is silly,
because you are only chasing the wind.

Application

The thing to remember from this passage is that your work, your busyness needs to be
balanced with rest. This rest is to be all-encompassing. Not only should it be physical
rest, but also mental rest. An escape from your fears, worries and anxieties. The writer
might have suggested a rest from the envy that causes people to work harder and harder
and harder. This rest also has a spiritual deminsion. It means that you have rest for your
soul when you are in a right relationship with God. One that is caught up. If you have to
many things to do, not enough time to read the Bible, pray, come to church, or do those
other things you should be doing to get closer to God, you are chasing the wind. Which,
of course, is meaningless, because you will never catch it. In fact, you may instead catch
the blazing blast of God's wrath. 

Are you chasing the wind?

Ill.-	My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister's bureau and lifted out a tissue-wrapped
package. "This," he said, "is not a slip. This is lingerie." He discarded the tissue and handed me
the slip. It was exquisite; silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb of lace. The price tag with
an astronomical figure on it was still attached. "Jan bought this the first time we went to New
York, at least 8 or 9 years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well, I
guess this is the occasion." He took the slip from me and put it on the bed with the other clothes
we were taking to the mortician.

His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment, then he slammed the drawer shut and turned to me.
"Don't ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you're alive is a special occasion." I
remembered those words through the funeral and the days that followed when I helped him and niece
attend to all the sad chores that follow an unexpected death. I thought about them on the plane returning to
California from the Midwestern town where my sister's family lives. I thought about all the things that she
hadn't seen or heard or done. I thought about the things that she had done without realizing that they were
special.
I'm still thinking about his words, and they've changed my life. I'm reading more and dusting less. I'm
sitting on the deck and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I'm spending more
time with my family and friends and less time in committee meetings. 

Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experience to savor, not endure. I'm trying to recognize these
moments now and cherish them. I'm not "saving" anything; we use our good china and crystal for every
special event—such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, the first camellia blossom. I wear my
good blazer to the market if I feel like it. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one
small bag of groceries without wincing. I'm not saving my good perfume for special parties; clerks in
hardware stores and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my party-going friends.'
"Someday" and "one of these days" are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it's worth seeing or hearing
or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now. 
I'm not sure what my sister would have done had she known that she wouldn't be here for the tomorrow we
take for granted. I think she'd have called family members and a few close friends. She might have called a
few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles. I like to think she would have gone out
for a Chinese dinner, her favorite food. I'm guessing—I'll never know. 

It's those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew that my hours were limited. Angry
because I put off seeing good friends whom I was going to get in touch with—someday. Angry because I
hadn't written certain letters that I intended to write "one of these days." Angry and sorry that I didn't tell
my husband and daughter often enough how much I truly love them. 

I'm trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to lives.
And every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special. Every day, every minute, every
breath truly is a gift from God. 

Conclusion

This is really the key to having that hand full of rest. Take time to enjoy life. Don't get
caught up in the rush for things, because they do not matter in the long run. If you will
take time to enjoy life, which in fact is a gift from God, you will have tranquility of the
mind, body, and soul.

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright once told of an incident that may have seemed insignificant at the time, but
had a profound influence on the rest of his life. The winter he was 9, he went walking across a
snow-covered field with his reserved, no-nonsense uncle. As the two of them reached the far end of the
field, his uncle stopped him. He pointed out his own tracks in the snow, straight and true as an arrow's
flight, and then young Frank's tracks meandering all over the field. "Notice how your tracks wander
aimlessly from the fence to the cattle to the woods and back again," his uncle said. "And see how my tracks
aim directly to my goal. There is an important lesson in that."

Years later the world-famous architect liked to tell how this experience had greatly contributed to his
philosophy in life. "I determined right then," he'd say with a twinkle in his eye, "not to miss most things in
life, as my uncle had." 
											
Just determine that as you do the best you can to enjoy this life that God has given to you,
that you give that life completely to God. You may then find that God will blow some of
his divine breath in your direction. Isn't that what the Bible says, "seek first the Kingdom
of God and his righteousness and all those things will be added unto you."

Are you chasing the wind? Your chase is futile and in the end meaningless. Stop being
busy and enjoy your life, just make sure you dedicate it to God.

I knelt to pray but not for long,
I had too much to do.
I had to hurry and get to work
For bills would soon be due.
So I knelt and said a hurried prayer,
And jumped up off my knees.
My Christian duty was now done
My soul could rest at ease.

All day long I had no time
To spread a word of cheer.
No time to speak of Christ to friends,
They'd laugh at me I'd fear.
No time, no time, too much to do,
That was my constant cry,
No time to give to souls in need
But at last the time, the time to die.

I went before the Lord,
I came, I stood with downcast eyes.
For in his hands God held a book;
It was the book of life.
God looked into his book and said
"Your name I cannot find.
I once was going to write it down...
But never found the time."

If you spend your life chasing the wind and you are a Christian, God would probably like
to tell you that when you stand before him, your misplaced priorities will be
covered by the blood of Christ. 



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