Gift, not Gain

It’s been a pretty scary, crazy year…and we’re only to March. In light of that, I wanted share a book I read recently–Living Life Backwards by David Gibson, which is a study of the book of Ecclesiastes.

The idea of Ecclesiastes is that we’re all going to die. Not cheerful, I know. Particularly in the midst of market crashes, a growing pandemic, and crippling fear. But it’s true, nonetheless. So, knowing this, how should we live?

The answer, and the main message of Ecclesiastes, the author proposes, is this:

“Life in God’s world is gift, not gain.”

So – enjoy the journey. Life is messy and complicated, confusing and scary, filled with missed opportunities and derailed plans. But also delicious food and drink, beautiful moments, and (hopefully) the simple joy of the work we find before us.

Gift, not gain. Perhaps not what we would have planned for ourselves, or strictly in line with our goals. Maybe this gift is more inconvenient than we’d expect, or doesn’t feel like our style. Or, perhaps, doesn’t feel like enough. But – despite the problems we might (with enough scrutiny) find on first glance – it is ours to enjoy, and it’s more than any of us have been promised.

The book was recommended a year ago by my dad, and I didn’t pick up until earlier this year, in January–when I was flying to a close friend’s funeral. I found it helpful–in the midst of the grief–to remember this phrase: gift, not gain. The life we’re given is not something we’re entitled to; instead, it’s for us to enjoy.

Here’s a link to the book, and to a great review thread on twitter.

Take care, and enjoy the day!

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