Nothing New Under the Sun

It’s a New Year and the time when people make all sorts of New Year’s resolutions.  People are looking for new ways to lose weight, get rich, have more time, keep the house organized and have better relationships. Unfortunately, what they are really looking for is a short cut or magic formula to do these things with the least amount of effort. 

This is just our human nature. We are born selfish and lazy. From birth we have been set on the course of discovery. How? Why? Where? What? Who? As we grow, it is our parents, teachers, and other mentors’ responsibility to instruct us to look outside ourselves, not to be so self-centered.  They help to instill important life values such as hard-work and determination is what it takes to accomplish goals. Spiritual instruction points us toward our Creator and all the wise instructions included in scripture. In a perfect world, all these things would help mold individuals into stable adults.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. Circumstances beyond our control often removes key people from our lives. Death or divorce can separate us from parents and grandparents. Illness, either physical or mental, can handicap the adults in our life from being able to fulfill their role in our lives to the intended level of responsibility. Basic sins and imperfections such as pride, selfishness, bitterness, and insecurities also steal away our role models and we are often left to find our own ways to achieve goals and learn lessons. Life has a way of teaching us lessons through raw experience.

The bookstores are filled with books instructing people how to live a better life. T.V. shows from health to home-improvement are rising in popularity; we don’t just want to be entertained anymore. We are looking for answers. Why didn’t life come with an instruction manual? But wait, it did.

At one time, instruction was given to man through conversations with God.  Adam had conversations with God personally each evening. Later God spoke to leaders such as Moses and prophets such as Elijah to talk to His people. Priests would offer sacrifices to God on behalf of people to push their sins ahead.  God came to Earth as a man, died on a cross for our sins, and made Himself available to us in the form of the Holy Ghost. All these things were recorded in our instruction book, The Bible. Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.

Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 1:9,’ That which has been is what will be,  That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun.’  A few things can be concluded from this scripture. Many think that they are unique, almost to the point of unusual, and that there is no one that can understand us. There is nothing new under the sun. Many strive for new ideas, a way to stand out in the crowd. There is nothing new under the sun. Many are looking for new ways to achieve goals. There is nothing new under the sun.

Dr. Oz is a popular show helping people be healthy and giving people new ideas about how to lose weight and get in shape. When you clear away all the hype, the underlying message is diet and exercise. The only real way to accomplish the goal of losing weight and being healthy is through diet and exercise. There is nothing new under the sun.

A popular broadway musical, ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’, the title alone illustrates our desire to get ahead using the least amount of effort. The lottery has become very popular because it plays on the hopes of individuals to obtain wealth with little investment. Gambling, whether done in casinos, or through investments, such as the stock market, plays on this desire as well. Let others do the work while all we do is risk losing some money.  How many times do we hear these stories ending up in disaster.  Life savings thrown away. Hard-earned money squandered on risky endeavors, all because of a few unbelievable stories that tell of happy endings.  The best stories are when you hear of people rolling up their sleeves and investing time and hard-work to get ahead. Some of our best role models are those who came from humble, meager beginnings and swore to make a better life by hard work and sacrifice.  Dave Ramsey gives the best advice when he says, ‘Spend less, save more’ or ‘Don’t spend more than you earn!’ These type of statements are applicable to everyone. They are tried and true pieces of advice.  It just takes time and discipline.

Time and discipline? The Bible is based on these values. In your patience possess ye your souls. (Luke 21:19)  Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end. (Proverbs 19:20) Commit your work to the LORD, and then your plans will succeed. (Proverbs 16:3) He must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. (Ephesians 4:28)

Good relationship advice is also found in scripture.

Friends: A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24) 

Marriage:Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.(Ecclesiastes 4:9-12) 

Parenting:Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.( Proverbs 22:6) Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. (Colossians 3:21) The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother. (Proverbs 29:15)

Respect: Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. (Colossians 3:20)  Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. (Hebrews 13:17)

There is no substitute for hard-work and instruction, given or received. People waste so much time, money and energy trying to find a new way to accomplish their goals, but there truly is nothing new under the sun.

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