It seems that there are universal sayings that all parents intuitively know and use with kids. The title above is one of them, “Life Is Not Fair.” It is one of those sayings that can be very discouraging or somewhat encouraging when facing a difficult situation. Our personal response is often dependent on our perspective of the situation. Solomon offers several insights onto this saying as well as some practical times for dealing with difficult life situation when you feel that “Life Is Not Fair.”
Solomon begins Ecclesiastes chapter 4 reminding how brutal life can be. It seems, as one commentator puts it, that Solomon decided to leave the isolation of the palace and observe how “normal” people live in his search for insights on the meaning of life. He was not encouraged by what he discovered. He learned that the poor are frequently oppressed to the point of tears and no one cares. He also observed, on the other hand, that the perpetrators were also lonely and isolated. His observations lead him to believe that it would be better to be dead, or better yet to never have been born. He reminds us of the meaninglessness of life when you exclude God. It would guess that all of us have been at a similar point when faced with some difficulty. So what does Solomon have to offer us when we face those times.
First, Solomon reminds us to live a balanced life. I will explain in a moment. Most us tend to live an unbalanced life. I once heard a saying, “The only time we are balanced is when we swing from one extreme to another!” As I walk through four person types responses to life’s injustices, ask yourself which defines you. The first, as defined with Warren Wiersbe, is the Industrious Person. This is the person that says buck up and work harder. They apply themselves to winning the proverbial “rat race.” Solomon reminds that focusing on “Keeping Up with the Jones” or attempting “To Be the Jones” in the end leaves you empty and disillusioned. The second response is the other extreme. It is the person that is identified as the idle person, he is the one that just checks out. He is the one that may have a little enjoyment in life, but his lack of industry leads to his own demise. The next person is that identified as the Independent Person. They are the loner. The one that just does it themselves. And Solomon reminds us that their lives, while done their way, also lack meaning and significance. The fourth person is the balanced person. They work hard but also allow time to worship God and enjoy the life he has given us. They are willing to get less money, stuff, recognition, or whatever to allow time to enjoy life. We all desire to be this last person but often get sucked into life and miss the daily blessings in our life.
Then Solomon speaks of another necessity for facing the challenges of life. It is developing relationships with others. He reminds us that the time and energy required to cultivate relationship is worth it. First, relationships multiply my effectiveness. The product of two people is not addition but multiplication. Second, relationships divide my difficulties. It is an incredible blessing to have someone cover you back! Third, relationships take the edge off of life struggles. And fourth, the more relationships and partnerships the stronger you become in the face of adversity.
So what kind of person are you? Yes, life is not fair, and at some point you will be on the receiving end. So, how will you respond? Will you be balanced by working hard but making time for God, Family and others in your life? And will you have those relationships that make life easier?
-Pastor Joe Parkinson