Your Testimony (Discussion on Sharing what the Lord has given to you.)
Come and See! Exclaimed the:
Man who was blind and could now see (John 9, Math 9:29).
The woman at the well who was thirsty but now was satisfied. (John 4:29)
The great and powerful man who, after walking with Christ counted his previous life, before Christ, as a loss (Phil 3:7-8).
Come and See! In Mathew 28:18 18And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
As Christians we share in a life of blessing that those of the world do not know. Even the background noise that fills our daily lives tries to draw us away from it. As we walk and see our friends who struggle and do not have this happiness, we muster the energy and strength to go against the way of this world: that background noise that so discourages any advances. But, with the help of the Spirit of God we do progress to tell those, that are close to us, of His greatness and glory.
In the gospel of John we are told of the encounter between a Samaritan woman and Jesus at a well.
1Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John 2(though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), 3He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. 4But He needed to go through Samaria.
5So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
7A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink." 8For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.
9Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.
10Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."
11The woman said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? 12Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?"
13Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."
15The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw."
16Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here."
17The woman answered and said, "I have no husband."
Jesus said to her, "You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ 18for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly."
19The woman said to Him, "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship."
21Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
25The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming" (who is called Christ). "When He comes, He will tell us all things."
26Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He."
27And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, "What do You seek?" or, "Why are You talking with her?"
28The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, 29"Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" 30Then they went out of the city and came to Him.
31In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, "Rabbi, eat."
32But He said to them, "I have food to eat of which you do not know."
33Therefore the disciples said to one another, "Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?"
34Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. 35Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! 36And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. 37For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors."
39And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, "He told me all that I ever did." 40So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. 41And many more believed because of His own word.
42Then they said to the woman, "Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world."
In the book of John, after Jesus finished preaching to Nicodemus (an elite of the Jewish land) we hear of this encounter with a lowly Samaritan woman who first was despised by the Jews being a Samaritan and secondly being despised by her own. It is possible to see that by the circumstances given that this woman having many husbands could have been a harlot, or secondly the time of day she used to draw water from the well, In the heat of day rather than the cool of morning or evening, implies she avoided the rest of her neighbors when this time of communing around the well would have been used in those days as a time to enjoy conversation with the neighbors.
This speaks to the need that we are to go to All the world, in spite of our prejudices.
In this message Jesus gave us an example to use:
- We are to engage. Use our effort to reach out. "Give me a drink"
-We need to tell them of the water that they drink. It will not quench the thirst they are trying to satisfy.
-The water that Jesus has is the only "living water" that will satisfy.
-Take it to the Spirit level. When they hear, realize they hear "as the world hears". God is of spirit. We testify of things witnessed by the spirit within us. We need to get our listeners to this level. Our testimony speaks of our previous life "of the world" and the transition and intervention of God to take us to "a new life" now in tune with the Spirit of God. The message of God "as our creator who loves us and wants to share our lives with us" needs to be conveyed. He loves us so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins, to remove the separation between us.
-Perception, those that are of this world are blind to the Spirit world and to God. In fact many will dismiss their need, or refuse to admit to their being lost. In fact our opinions do not matter, only God's opinion matters; so use scripture to point out where they have fallen. In fact you need only use one scripture to convict as any one sin will separate you from God. In this example, Jesus was gentle and kind, but saved with urgency.
-Once they hear, they now need to see. We are told of the seed that fell on shallow ground and sprang up but soon withered. The person looking at God "through your window" will only satisfy him for a limited time. We all need our personal encounter with God. In fact it may take several encounters with God, or just a heart properly prepared for their own experience with Christ that will stick. We must not forget that God calls every one and has fore-ordained each that is saved. All steps in this person's life leading up to this encounter are used to prepare them for their encounter with God. God does not take pleasure in the loss of any one, but labors hard on these lives so that they will search, find, and acknowledge Him. But, God also gives each man a free will to accept Him and reject Him. Even in the Christian life, we make this choice daily.
-A real encounter with God will shake up your world. The woman at the well ran and left her water pot. This symbolizes all that she had before. The water in her life that she toiled for daily, that after laboring for it, she left it to do the will of God. This shake up also carries blessings. For at the beginning of this story we find a woman who avoided others, and yet at the end she was praised by the others in the town, for her efforts in getting these to: "COME and SEE". And many believed because of her words; and after hearing Jesus many others believed. And, then later the first who believed, now believed because of His words.
Where and How do we hear from God? The entire bible is a Testimony of those who have heard. Elijah tells us in 1 Kings 19:11-12; 11Then He said, "Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD." And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; 12and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. 13So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
The power of God is indescribable; Who can know it? Yet He speaks to us in a gentle way, to those willing to hear, to those willing to seek Him. Those that seek Him diligently will find Him (Prov 8:17).
To be a teacher: Every Christian is called to spread the good news and bring more to the salvation found through God and Christ. Below is a list of tips and an example of a testimony. I encourage you to use this example to get you started on your testimony. (It also helps, personally, to keep a score card of where you were and where you are going. It helps to give perspective: it will give you clear memories and point clearly to a future. It will also help us to learn from past mistakes, and be sure not to repeat them, but to grow and move forward. In the future, you can look back on this list, and it will remind you of the blessings that are given to you, that you do not get too accustomed to them and forget to give thanks for these gifts. A daily walk with the Lord, is what He desires. Seek Him daily, put Him first in all things and you will see that He gives the desires of your heart.)
- The best lesson we have in memory, and know all the parts, is our own Testimony.
- Tell how the Lord spoke to you. There is no one way the Lord speaks. Indeed the ways that He speaks are probably endless.
- Tell of where you were before Christ (BC).
- Tell of where you are now after Christ (AC).
- Include scriptures; Tell of how they spoke to you, and how they were used (How were you turned and lead home).
Five tips to use in your testimony:
- Be clear and concise
- Glorify God and not your sinful past.
- Keep it personal and don't preach
- Use scripture. No scripture returns void.
- Be gentile, tactful, peaceful and loving.
Before Christ (BC)
If slogans could be used to describe the things important to me before: then consider these: The one who dies with the most toys wins. Tight butts drive me nuts. Sworn to fun and loyal to none. Beer drinkers make better lovers. Why hang out with turkeys when you can soar with eagles. Blondes are more fun. Its hard to be humble when your perfect.
God's paths of preparation (BC):
Limited success at goals. Difficulties with women and relationships. Severe traffic accidents. With-held family from my life. Squandered assets. Lack of happiness at the success of goals. Focus on self. Falling behind my friends and those around me in success at life. Searching for love but finding pain.
Raised Catholic through my teens. Knew of some Christians through out my life, but first real penetration into my heart was the encounter of dating a Christian Gal for just under two years. During this time I was given the blessings of a Christian, even though not truly knowing of Him. From my school teaching, I was told of being an agnostic which was defined as: Not disbelieving in God nor believing in God but was waiting on more proof. Boy!, I finally found something I could live with, but I was confronted with my Christian friend who told me otherwise: that either you are with Him or you are without Him. There is no middle ground.
Years later I finally decided to search for myself. Just me and the bible with no intervention from any man. Part time, about weekly, I read the bible and at first was drawn to the wisdom that was in its pages; and later to the One who is behind all this wisdom. I took the challenges posed in the bible. I dedicated one day off a week to be a sign between Him and me (I was a work-aholic prior to this).
I was first guided into listening to Christian radio programs. Then I was guided to start attending Church. All in all it took approximately a year of part time study, half of this supplemented with radio teaching and finally six months of sitting in the pews before I invited Jesus into my heart. The Lord was patient with Me. Never rushed any of my steps.
After Christ (AC)
I changed my pessimistic "no's" to "yes's" and made this an initial offering to the Lord. Opportunities that were placed before me I took. This included small beginners Christian classes. More advanced Christian classes. Christian guitar workshop and small bible studies. The first strong detection of this still small voice came to me about three months after I accepted Christ into my heart. The presence of the Spirit was there far before any of this (You could call it the Holy Spirit goose bumps for a lack of a better description). But now my world was really rocked. He gave me a direction, a purpose, a promise, and a future.
In fact the days of blessing, as I look back on it now, started when I first decided to seek out the Lord. From that first day the fruit in my life started. Peace slowly entered and increased. Joy entered and increased. Stability entered and became stronger. The rock beneath my feet I (He?) set more anchors into. The storms began to pass without all the previous tossing about. The future of my own personal life was set before me with fore-knowledge of promises the Lord placed before me. Prophet, family, business were all set before me. My heart was slowly healed. My worry taken away.
The amount of accomplishment in my life since I accepted Christ can not even be accounted for. Compared to the ineffectiveness of my prior self attempts, you could compare it to a man setting himself for a journey to a city five miles away. My life before could be compared to wandering around the city block that my house resides on, but now, I have just entered the destination city gates.
A year and one half after setting the future before me, Our businesses are started, Our ministries have begun. I have more money in the bank than what is on my credit cards. And I am looking forward to the rest of the visions given to me of my future: To do justly, and to love mercy, and walking humbly with my God.
Scriptures that helped to change my life: (Its hard to single out just a few, but the ones listed below are the main ones that helped me initially to turn home)
3 What profit has a man from all his labor
In which he toils under the sun?
4 One generation passes away, and another generation comes;
But the earth abides forever.
5 The sun also rises, and the sun goes down,
And hastens to the place where it arose.
6 The wind goes toward the south,
And turns around to the north;
The wind whirls about continually,
And comes again on its circuit.
7 All the rivers run into the sea,
Yet the sea is not full;
To the place from which the rivers come,
There they return again.
8 All things are full of labor;
Man cannot express it.
The eye is not satisfied with seeing,
Nor the ear filled with hearing.
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.
10 Is there anything of which it may be said,
"See, this is new"?
It has already been in ancient times before us.
11 There is no remembrance of former things,
Nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come
By those who will come after.
18 For in much wisdom is much grief,
And he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.
17Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind.
18Then I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me. 19And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will rule over all my labor in which I toiled and in which I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity. 20Therefore I turned my heart and despaired of all the labor in which I had toiled under the sun. 21For there is a man whose labor is with wisdom, knowledge, and skill; yet he must leave his heritage to a man who has not labored for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22For what has man for all his labor, and for the striving of his heart with which he has toiled under the sun? 23For all his days are sorrowful, and his work burdensome; even in the night his heart takes no rest. This also is vanity.
24Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God. 25For who can eat, or who can have enjoyment, more than I? 26For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight; but to the sinner He gives the work of gathering and collecting, that he may give to him who is good before God. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.
1 To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
2 A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
3 A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
4 A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;
7 A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;
8 A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace.
9What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? 10I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. 11He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.
12I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, 13and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.
14 I know that whatever God does,
It shall be forever.
Nothing can be added to it,
And nothing taken from it.
God does it, that men should fear before Him.
15 That which is has already been,
And what is to be has already been;
And God requires an account of what is past.
16Moreover I saw under the sun:
In the place of judgment,
Wickedness was there;
And in the place of righteousness,
Iniquity was there.
17I said in my heart,
"God shall judge the righteous and the wicked,
For there is a time there for every purpose and for every work."
18I said in my heart, "Concerning the condition of the sons of men, God tests them, that they may see that they themselves are like animals." 19For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals; one thing befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other. Surely, they all have one breath; man has no advantage over animals, for all is vanity. 20All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust. 21Who knows the spirit of the sons of men, which goes upward, and the spirit of the animal, which goes down to the earth? 22So I perceived that nothing is better than that a man should rejoice in his own works, for that is his heritage. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?
4Again, I saw that for all toil and every skillful work a man is envied by his neighbor. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.
5 The fool folds his hands
And consumes his own flesh.
6 Better a handful with quietness
Than both hands full, together with toil and grasping for the wind.
7Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun:
8 There is one alone, without companion:
He has neither son nor brother.
Yet there is no end to all his labors,
Nor is his eye satisfied with riches.
But he never asks,
"For whom do I toil and deprive myself of good?"
This also is vanity and a grave misfortune.
9 Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
1Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.
2 Do not be rash with your mouth,
And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God.
For God is in heaven, and you on earth;
Therefore let your words be few.
3 For a dream comes through much activity,
And a fool’s voice is known by his many words.
4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it;
For He has no pleasure in fools.
Pay what you have vowed—
5 Better not to vow than to vow and not pay.
6Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands? 7For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God.
10 He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver;
Nor he who loves abundance, with increase.
This also is vanity.
11 When goods increase,
They increase who eat them;
So what profit have the owners
Except to see them with their eyes?
12 The sleep of a laboring man is sweet,
Whether he eats little or much;
But the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep.
13 There is a severe evil which I have seen under the sun:
Riches kept for their owner to his hurt.
14 But those riches perish through misfortune;
When he begets a son, there is nothing in his hand.
15 As he came from his mother’s womb, naked shall he return,
To go as he came;
And he shall take nothing from his labor
Which he may carry away in his hand.
16 And this also is a severe evil—
Just exactly as he came, so shall he go.
And what profit has he who has labored for the wind?
17 All his days he also eats in darkness,
And he has much sorrow and sickness and anger.
18Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage. 19As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor—this is the gift of God. 20For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart.
1 A good name is better than precious ointment,
And the day of death than the day of one’s birth;
2 Better to go to the house of mourning
Than to go to the house of feasting,
For that is the end of all men;
And the living will take it to heart.
3 Sorrow is better than laughter,
For by a sad countenance the heart is made better.
4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
But the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise
Than for a man to hear the song of fools.
6 For like the crackling of thorns under a pot,
So is the laughter of the fool.
This also is vanity.
7 Surely oppression destroys a wise man’s reason,
And a bribe debases the heart.
8 The end of a thing is better than its beginning;
The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
9 Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry,
For anger rests in the bosom of fools.
10 Do not say,
"Why were the former days better than these?"
For you do not inquire wisely concerning this.
11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance,
And profitable to those who see the sun.
12 For wisdom is a defense as money is a defense,
But the excellence of knowledge is that wisdom gives life to those who have it.
13 Consider the work of God;
For who can make straight what He has made crooked?
14 In the day of prosperity be joyful,
But in the day of adversity consider:
Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other,
So that man can find out nothing that will come after him.
15I have seen everything in my days of vanity:
There is a just man who perishes in his righteousness,
And there is a wicked man who prolongs life in his wickedness.
16 Do not be overly righteous,
Nor be overly wise:
Why should you destroy yourself?
17 Do not be overly wicked,
Nor be foolish:
Why should you die before your time?
18 It is good that you grasp this,
And also not remove your hand from the other;
For he who fears God will escape them all.
19 Wisdom strengthens the wise
More than ten rulers of the city.
20 For there is not a just man on earth who does good
And does not sin.
21 Also do not take to heart everything people say,
Lest you hear your servant cursing you.
22 For many times, also, your own heart has known
That even you have cursed others.
23 All this I have proved by wisdom.
I said, "I will be wise";
But it was far from me.
24 As for that which is far off and exceedingly deep,
Who can find it out?
25 I applied my heart to know,
To search and seek out wisdom and the reason of things,
To know the wickedness of folly,
Even of foolishness and madness.
26 And I find more bitter than death
The woman whose heart is snares and nets,
Whose hands are fetters.
He who pleases God shall escape from her,
But the sinner shall be trapped by her.
27 "Here is what I have found," says the Preacher,
"Adding one thing to the other to find out the reason,
28 Which my soul still seeks but I cannot find:
One man among a thousand I have found,
But a woman among all these I have not found.
29 Truly, this only I have found:
That God made man upright,
But they have sought out many schemes."
1 Who is like a wise man?
And who knows the interpretation of a thing?
A man’s wisdom makes his face shine,
And the sternness of his face is changed.
2I say, "Keep the king’s commandment for the sake of your oath to God. 3Do not be hasty to go from his presence. Do not take your stand for an evil thing, for he does whatever pleases him."
4 Where the word of a king is, there is power;
And who may say to him, "What are you doing?"
5 He who keeps his command will experience nothing harmful;
And a wise man’s heart discerns both time and judgment,
6 Because for every matter there is a time and judgment,
Though the misery of man increases greatly.
7 For he does not know what will happen;
So who can tell him when it will occur?
8 No one has power over the spirit to retain the spirit,
And no one has power in the day of death.
There is no release from that war,
And wickedness will not deliver those who are given to it.
9All this I have seen, and applied my heart to every work that is done under the sun: There is a time in which one man rules over another to his own hurt.
10Then I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of holiness, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done. This also is vanity. 11Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. 12Though a sinner does evil a hundred times, and his days are prolonged, yet I surely know that it will be well with those who fear God, who fear before Him. 13But it will not be well with the wicked; nor will he prolong his days, which are as a shadow, because he does not fear before God.
14There is a vanity which occurs on earth, that there are just men to whom it happens according to the work of the wicked; again, there are wicked men to whom it happens according to the work of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity.
15So I commended enjoyment, because a man has nothing better under the sun than to eat, drink, and be merry; for this will remain with him in his labor all the days of his life which God gives him under the sun.
16When I applied my heart to know wisdom and to see the business that is done on earth, even though one sees no sleep day or night, 17then I saw all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. For though a man labors to discover it, yet he will not find it; moreover, though a wise man attempts to know it, he will not be able to find it.
1For I considered all this in my heart, so that I could declare it all: that the righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God. People know neither love nor hatred by anything they see before them. 2All things come alike to all:
One event happens to the righteous and the wicked;
To the good, the clean, and the unclean;
To him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice.
As is the good, so is the sinner;
He who takes an oath as he who fears an oath.
3This is an evil in all that is done under the sun: that one thing happens to all. Truly the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil; madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. 4But for him who is joined to all the living there is hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion.
5 For the living know that they will die;
But the dead know nothing,
And they have no more reward,
For the memory of them is forgotten.
6 Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished;
Nevermore will they have a share
In anything done under the sun.
7 Go, eat your bread with joy,
And drink your wine with a merry heart;
For God has already accepted your works.
8 Let your garments always be white,
And let your head lack no oil.
9Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun.
10Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.
11I returned and saw under the sun that—
The race is not to the swift,
Nor the battle to the strong,
Nor bread to the wise,
Nor riches to men of understanding,
Nor favor to men of skill;
But time and chance happen to them all.
12 For man also does not know his time:
Like fish taken in a cruel net,
Like birds caught in a snare,
So the sons of men are snared in an evil time,
When it falls suddenly upon them.
13This wisdom I have also seen under the sun, and it seemed great to me: 14There was a little city with few men in it; and a great king came against it, besieged it, and built great snares around it. 15Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that same poor man.
16Then I said:
"Wisdom is better than strength.
Nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised,
And his words are not heard.
17 Words of the wise, spoken quietly, should be heard
Rather than the shout of a ruler of fools.
18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war;
But one sinner destroys much good."
1 Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment,
And cause it to give off a foul odor;
So does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor.
2 A wise man’s heart is at his right hand,
But a fool’s heart at his left.
3 Even when a fool walks along the way,
He lacks wisdom,
And he shows everyone that he is a fool.
4 If the spirit of the ruler rises against you,
Do not leave your post;
For conciliation pacifies great offenses.
5 There is an evil I have seen under the sun,
As an error proceeding from the ruler:
6 Folly is set in great dignity,
While the rich sit in a lowly place.
7 I have seen servants on horses,
While princes walk on the ground like servants.
8 He who digs a pit will fall into it,
And whoever breaks through a wall will be bitten by a serpent.
9 He who quarries stones may be hurt by them,
And he who splits wood may be endangered by it.
10 If the ax is dull,
And one does not sharpen the edge,
Then he must use more strength;
But wisdom brings success.
11 A serpent may bite when it is not charmed;
The babbler is no different.
12 The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious,
But the lips of a fool shall swallow him up;
13 The words of his mouth begin with foolishness,
And the end of his talk is raving madness.
14 A fool also multiplies words.
No man knows what is to be;
Who can tell him what will be after him?
15 The labor of fools wearies them,
For they do not even know how to go to the city!
16 Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child,
And your princes feast in the morning!
17 Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles,
And your princes feast at the proper time—
For strength and not for drunkenness!
18 Because of laziness the building decays,
And through idleness of hands the house leaks.
19 A feast is made for laughter,
And wine makes merry;
But money answers everything.
20 Do not curse the king, even in your thought;
Do not curse the rich, even in your bedroom;
For a bird of the air may carry your voice,
And a bird in flight may tell the matter.
1 Cast your bread upon the waters,
For you will find it after many days.
2 Give a serving to seven, and also to eight,
For you do not know what evil will be on the earth.
3 If the clouds are full of rain,
They empty themselves upon the earth;
And if a tree falls to the south or the north,
In the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie.
4 He who observes the wind will not sow,
And he who regards the clouds will not reap.
5 As you do not know what is the way of the wind,
Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child,
So you do not know the works of God who makes everything.
6 In the morning sow your seed,
And in the evening do not withhold your hand;
For you do not know which will prosper,
Either this or that,
Or whether both alike will be good.
7 Truly the light is sweet,
And it is pleasant for the eyes to behold the sun;
8 But if a man lives many years
And rejoices in them all,
Yet let him remember the days of darkness,
For they will be many.
All that is coming is vanity.
9 Rejoice, O young man, in your youth,
And let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth;
Walk in the ways of your heart,
And in the sight of your eyes;
But know that for all these
God will bring you into judgment.
10 Therefore remove sorrow from your heart,
And put away evil from your flesh,
For childhood and youth are vanity.
1 Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth,
Before the difficult days come,
And the years draw near when you say,
"I have no pleasure in them":
2 While the sun and the light,
The moon and the stars,
Are not darkened,
And the clouds do not return after the rain;
3 In the day when the keepers of the house tremble,
And the strong men bow down;
When the grinders cease because they are few,
And those that look through the windows grow dim;
4 When the doors are shut in the streets,
And the sound of grinding is low;
When one rises up at the sound of a bird,
And all the daughters of music are brought low.
5 Also they are afraid of height,
And of terrors in the way;
When the almond tree blossoms,
The grasshopper is a burden,
And desire fails.
For man goes to his eternal home,
And the mourners go about the streets.
6 Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed,
Or the golden bowl is broken,
Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain,
Or the wheel broken at the well.
7 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was,
And the spirit will return to God who gave it.
8 "Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher,
"All is vanity."
9And moreover, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yes, he pondered and sought out and set in order many proverbs. 10The Preacher sought to find acceptable words; and what was written was upright—words of truth. 11The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd. 12And further, my son, be admonished by these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh.
13Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
14 For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.