10
Mar
15

The Same Fate

I turned 40 in 2013.  I was over the hill.  The “big 4-0.”  Time for my mid-life crisis, right?  Well, that wasn’t the tough one.  The tough one was 39.  It was the realization that I was going to be 40 next year.  That’s when it hit me that my life could be half over.  What had I accomplished?  What had I done?  What would I do with the next 40 or so years?
Solomon was the wisest king over Israel and he stopped to ponder wisdom and foolishness.  As you read through Ecclesiastes, it sure seems like he was facing a mid-life crisis of some sort.  As he considered wisdom and folly, he comes to a startling conclusion.  One of the wisest men to ever live figures it all out – his wisdom couldn’t save him.  He would suffer the same fate as a fool.  With regard to the wise and the foolish he said,
​…​the same fate overtakes them both. – Ecclesiastes 2:14 (NIV)
That fate is the grave.  We all suffer the same fate.
Whether we are:
  • Wise or foolish
  • Rich or poor
  • Black or white or brown or yellow or red
  • Short or tall
  • Woman or man
  • Famous or not
  • Old or young
  • Sinner or saint
We all end up suffering the same fate.  Author and pastor John Ortberg wrote a book entitled, “When The Game Is Over, It All Goes Back In The Box.”  When you play a board game, all of the pieces go back in the box when the game has concluded.  When our lives are over and we’re done playing the real “game of life,” everything will go in some kind of box, including us.  You may be all kinds of things in this life, including some of the things in the list above, but none of that stuff matters because we all suffer the same fate.  Verse 16 says:

For the wise, like the fool, will not be long remembered;
    the days have already come when both have been forgotten.
Like the fool, the wise too must die!

We want to leave a lasting legacy of some sort, but the fact is that we will one day be forgotten.  We have only one thing that will last forever…our soul.  Jesus said, in Mark 8:36 (NLT):

And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?

You may have the world by the tail, but the world will go on long after you do.  What good will it do you then?  Don’t lose the eternal treasures of heaven for the temporary things of earth.  Your body will end up in a box, but your soul will live on in eternity.  We all suffer the same earthly fate, but we will not all suffer the same eternal one.
Ecclesiastes 2:12-16 (NIV)

Then I turned my thoughts to consider wisdom,
    and also madness and folly.
What more can the king’s successor do
    than what has already been done?
13 I saw that wisdom is better than folly,
    just as light is better than darkness.
14 The wise have eyes in their heads,
    while the fool walks in the darkness;
but I came to realize
    that the same fate overtakes them both.

15 Then I said to myself,

“The fate of the fool will overtake me also.
    What then do I gain by being wise?”
I said to myself,
    “This too is meaningless.”
16 For the wise, like the fool, will not be long remembered;
    the days have already come when both have been forgotten.
Like the fool, the wise too must die!

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