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Hi and welcome to Coffee and Pearl’s, 15 minutes of wisdom for Catholic moms. I’m Sterling Jaquith and today I’m going to start a series about the book of Ecclesiastes. I don’t know how many parts there are going to be. I’m just going to let the Holy spirit dictate that. But this is part one where we’re talking about chapters one and two. The book of Ecclesiastes, this is like the book of Job where it’s written about troubling times, but at this point they did not yet have the good news about heaven and life forever with God because Christ died for our sins. So what we see this guy is puzzling out what’s the point of all of this? Why should I just sit around and eat pizza and watch Netflix? Right? Of course, he’s not saying that, but that’s his question.

He’s struggling with this and so I wanna read a couple verses that , stood out to me in these first two chapters and then we can talk about them. The first thing is that he basically says there’s nothing new under the sun. Right? He goes out and he tries to acquire wisdom. He works really hard. He has this beautiful poem in the beginning I almost thought about printing it up and putting it somewhere so the kids could read it through chapter one. Then he basically says there’s nothing new under the sun. That is so important for us to remember because but we tend to feel like whatever’s happening to us is so terrible. And like we’re the only ones, I’m part of a natural family planning Facebook group.

It’s called hyper fertility/rejects group. It’s basically for the people that really, really struggle with natural family planning because they’re hyper fertile or some other reason. I’m not joking, I just posted in that group saying, “Ugh, we are at 10 months abstinence, seven months postpartum. I thought this is going to be my first regular cycle and it’s just not, my stupid monitor showed me peak at day 10, which I don’t think is right. I had no stretchy mucus and it was just so disheartening because this whole time I really thought this was going to be the first one and you need three normal cycles really to begin having sex. We haven’t even had one. And so I was just so upset and I posted in the group, I just feel like I have no one to talk to.

I don’t really know a lot of people personally who struggle with huge bouts of abstinence or the ones that do don’t seem to be willing to open up and share about how difficult it is and how hard it is for their marriage and how difficult it is for their husbands and therefore them. Right. It’s, it’s difficult for me to just in a different way than it’s difficult for my husband. I feel like, Oh, this is so unfair and I should be able to have the technology to make this work. But as I was reading this this morning and there is nothing new under the sun and that is so true for all of us right now. Yours is not the first marriage to deal with whatever problem you’re dealing with, with the challenges you’re facing with your children, financial worries, even pandemics.

There is nothing new under the sun. Everything has happened before and God’s hand is in everything. And he has brought everyone through every single problem. He either brings you through to the other side of the problem or he calls you home. That’s it. Those are the only two things. So that was the first thing that jumped out at me. And then in verse 13, he says, it is an unhappy business that God has given to the sons of men to be busy, busy with. And he’s talking about going, having a mind to go out and search for wisdom for everything under the under heaven. So basically saying like, men, we have this desire to go out and find wisdom and seek all of the answers. But he says, really it’s an unhappy business and isn’t that true? Right? Wouldn’t it be lovely if we just woke up and toiled in our homes and toiled in the fields and ate food?

And we were just happy and content with that. And he says, that’s not really how God designed us and too bad. And first of all, I’m sure that is how God designed us in the garden of Eden. But it’s, it’s not how we are now. And then because of the fall and because our pride fullness, we want to know everything. We want to answer all of the questions and to solve all of our problems. And he says, what an unhappy business that is. And then he ends it by saying, all is vanity and a striving after the wind. We’re always striving for this thing that we can never capture. We’re trying to grasp water in our hands and it leaks out and it’s unsatisfying. And isn’t that true? I want you to think about something that you’re worried about right now. Why are you worried about it? What do you think you can do now? Putting your head in the sand and ignoring things isn’t great, but sometimes we ruminate on things and do you remember what the, the word rumination means? It comes from how cows eat their food, where they eat their food, they throw it up and then they eat it again because they have four stomachs. That is what we are doing when we worry and worry about things that we cannot control. All is vanity and a striving after wind.

Then later in verse 18 he says for in much wisdom is much vexation and he who increases knowledge, increases sorrow. And man, do I get this because I love learning new things. I took a personality [email protected] I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here or not. I’ve mentioned it in the Catholic women shine group via character.org and my second character strength is love of learning. I love to learn new things, but just like the author says here, much wisdom as much vexation because the more we know, the more frustrating it is that we see our own flaws or we see more clearly the flaws of others. , sometimes I wish I had never read anything about food because now I like, I think it’s so bad when I’m eating gluten. And then I’m like, how bad is the gluten? I don’t know how bad the gluten is, but I’ve read all these scientific books about how , we, we process it and it goes into the gut and it’s confusing. And, and I remember reading that, I don’t always remember exactly how it worked, but I remember reading that it was bad. And yet I watched these people with great peace, making your sourdough bread right now. And I’m like, Oh, I want to make some sourdough bread that looks awesome. And then I feel this conflict about my knowledge and my lack of knowledge because I’m not educated enough to really know if it’s important or not.

He who increases knowledge, increases sorrow. I forget who said this, maybe it was a Jordan Peterson thing was saying, it really is crummy to be on the outlier of IQ, which I am not. Let’s be clear about that. I’m very squarely in the middle, in the IQ front. But the, the people who have really high IQs tend to leave really unhappy lives because they just see things so clearly and other people around them don’t. And it’s just really frustrating. And then they tend to live very lonely lives because people don’t understand them. And they see in a way that perhaps naive people don’t, that the world in our life is just full of suffering and pain. We’re just going to live painful experiences for the rest of our lives. And so people with high IQs tend to see this a bit more clearly and so they’re unhappy. And I love that. We know that now. And yet this person who has never read a scientific study knows that intuitively God gives us the keys to know great truths with nothing with the Bible. And that’s what the Bible is so important because all you need is to know the Bible for in as much wisdom is much vexation and he who increases knowledge, increases sorrow. Also, I feel like I’m picturing lady Catherine de Berg saying that because of the word vexation, it is her greatly.

Next we’re going to go all the way to chapter two in verse 20 so he first he talks about how he goes out and he does all of this work. Then he seeks lots of pleasure. He’s basically just trying to do anything to feel satisfied and then he comes back and he says, so I turned about and I gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun. See those God, I just worked so hard and now I feel like it was for nothing and he clarifies. He says, because sometimes a man who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave it all to be enjoyed by a man who did not toil for it. Oh, that hits home for me. It’s so frustrating to me when I work really, really hard.

And then money is just taken for me somehow, which supposes that it was mine and it’s not, it’s gods. But that’s, that’s my knee jerk reaction. Like, Oh, why did we lose that money? We’re in a lawsuit right now with one of our clients. We built an extremely expensive fence for an HOA. And it’s a long story, but they just didn’t want to pay for it. We did nothing wrong. And I’m just so upset about it because I know we did nothing wrong and they just don’t want to pay. And it turns out that a lot of times when when big hos or developers work with small contractors, they can just say, Oh, we’re not going to pay it. And the contractor is so small that they can’t afford to sue them so they walk away or they go under.

And man, it just, I’m so frustrated with this and I just, I have this when this happened and we’re still in the middle of it, but sometimes I give myself over to despair and I think it’s just not fair. My husband and I worked so stinking hard and we’re so honorable and why does this stuff happen? This happened to us when we sold our house in Portland. And we had a bad real estate agent who bought that house with us and I’m pretty sure that he had the inspector in his pocket. And so real estate agents want inspectors not to find things wrong with houses because then they’re to sell and they sell at a higher price point. And so it turns out the siding of our house was bad when we bought it. Our inspector did not tell us.

And so we paid more for the house than we should have. Then when we sold the house a better inspector set up the sightings that it’s going to be $20,000 less, I had to fix it. And so we basically renegotiated the price of the people and it felt like in that one day I lost $20,000, which was crazy. And again, I just gave myself over to this despair feeling like it’s just not fair, Lord, that some people are just lucky. Right? To me it just felt like, Oh, like those people were just lucky. We weren’t because we didn’t know that we had a bad real estate agent who, , had an a bad inspector. And so those people get to enjoy a discounted house or a discounted fence. But we did all of the work but he ends at like this. This also is vanity and a great evil. And man that hits me hard too because it’s absolutely true when we are stomping their feet and feeling like it is unfair that we worked so hard. But some person who doesn’t work hard has something great happened to them or who doesn’t work hard and gets to enjoy the hard work that we’ve done. Man, that feels really yucky.

But in Ecclesiastes he’s, he’s saying that his vanity and a great evil, let it go. Sterling was not your money and you don’t know what I’m doing with it. You don’t know what I’m doing with you. You don’t know what I’m doing with that person. Just be.

And then the last thing that I want to talk about is verse 24 through 26 just the very last paragraph, I put a huge circle around it. Have I told you I’m a messy Bible journaler it’s embarrassing, right? I don’t have any of those beautiful, beautiful Bibles with like colored pencils and things like that. No, just scribbles. I’m going to read it to you slowly cause it’s hard to hear the Bible read out loud and have your brain process it. There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also I saw is from the hand of God for a part from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment for the man who pleases him. God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner, he gives the work of gathering and helping only to give to one who pleases God. This is also vanity and striving after wind. So he’s saying here like, Hey, you’re gonna be doing the work anyway. But the reward is that when we do it with wisdom and knowledge and joy, the fruits are wisdom and knowledge and joy. When we do it with God, we get the fruit just from doing it. It helps us to be mature and to feel closer to him.

But when we sin, when we do it with sinfulness, which to me Hargan to the previous paragraph, it says with bitterness or despair, grumpiness, and I’m the grumpiest you guys. So I know then not only have we still done the work, but we don’t, we don’t get that wisdom or that knowledge or that joy. And I think that this is really apt for right now because I think some of us feel like we’re just waiting and we don’t see the work that is to be done while we’re waiting.

But there’s so much work to be done in front of you just sweeping your floors, which drives me bananas because I sweep my floors and then two meals later they’re gross again. But that’s not the point. The point is to look up toward heaven and say, Jesus, thank you for these floors and for the children that make them messy. And then I have the time to clean them and for me personally, that I’m not stuck in bed and I can clean them. I think in this time we have to get a little more granular about the work that needs to be done. And I love the word toil because it has a negative connotation to me. Like, Oh, just the same thing over and over again, which is my whole life, right? I have three boys in diapers. The other day I changed nine poopy diapers and that is my toil and I need to do it with God. Thank you Lord, that this is my life, that I’m the one changing them.

That I have the freedom of time and health to do it. And I say that as a person who might just totally lose our livelihood, right? Our business could just close. We have one week of work. After that we could have none and then we would just close, which would be hard, not only for us but for the four people that work for us. And I could chew on that all day, every day. And I just don’t, I didn’t think about it until I started talking to you guys today. I woke up, I took care of the kids, we did breakfast, we did a workout, and then we did chores in school. That’s my morning and we did it a tiny bit more slowly than we do other days when we have to leave the house. But since we don’t have to leave the house, we took a little bit more time, a little more silliness. And that is the joy that I got to have because I did that work with God. It also helps that I read Ecclesiastes. So when you read the Bible in the morning and it says, Hey, be grateful. It helps to make you grateful. So pull your Bible out, leave it on the kitchen counter, let it get messy. Don’t have a Bible that nobody can touch or that you treat like porcelain.

Have it out and then read it. I haven’t read a class Ecclesiastes in a long time, but I just flipped to that and I thought, well, that was fantastic. And then I thought, I’m going to share that with you guys. So I’ll keep reading and an underlining things and we’ll keep talking about it. All right ladies, I love you. You are amazing. Thank you for listening to coffee and pearls and have a blessed day.