Preachers are supposed to be encouraging, right? We don’t expect to hear a sermon that makes us miserable. We might be motivated to make changes, because we need to reevaluate our lives. But, it shouldn’t leave us depressed … should it?
At first glance, the “preacher” in Ecclesiastes (as he refers to himself in the first verse of the first chapter) seems to suggest that we should fill our lives with as much sorrow, mourning, and rebuke as possible. Listen to these words…
“A good name is better than precious ointment,
and the day of death than the day of birth.
It is better to go to the house of mourning
than to go to the house of feasting,
for this is the end of all mankind,
and the living will lay it to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter,
for by sadness of face the heart is made glad.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise
than to hear the song of fools.”
Not exactly the kind of inspiring message you’re hoping to hear on Sunday morning, is it? But, when considered in the overall context of the book of Ecclesiastes, these words can provide us with some much needed insight. When it comes to our spiritual well being,
there are few things more dangerous than success, prosperity, or power. There’s no question that Solomon had all of these, and look at all of the problems it created for him.
When we are blessed with the ability to be feasting and celebrating and laughing, it’s important that we remember the source of all our blessings. We must not allow our successes to diminish our need for Christ. Times of mourning and sorrow are often beneficial to our spiritual growth, because they remind us of how little we actually control, and how desperately we need a Savior. So, in some ways, sorrow really is better than laughter.
Think about it