“He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad” (Matthew 12:30).
By this point in His ministry, Jesus is openly healing the sick and performing various miracles; but, rather than being impressed by His power, the wicked Pharisees begin to rationalize and try to attribute this power to Satan.
The designated purpose of Jesus’ performing miracles was to convince witnesses that He was sent from God. With that recognition, Jesus would be able to draw the doubters to Himself and, thus, to God.
Since the Pharisees were refusing to be convinced, Jesus levies this firm statement of fact: they were either with Him or they were working against Him. There was no middle ground.
Nothing about the reality of this statement has changed since that day: it is just as true today that if a person is teaching doctrine contrary to the doctrine Jesus taught or if he or she is living in such a way that doesn’t reflect Jesus’ example, he isn’t really with Him.
“Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them.
I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure,
For my heart rejoiced in all my labor;
And this was my reward from all my labor.
Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done
And on the labor in which I had toiled;
And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind.
There was no profit under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11).
Solomon proved for himself what so many since his time have had to prove again and again for themselves: materialism and sensualism are not the answer to a satisfying life.
Possessing extreme wealth so that he could have anything he desired and having tried everything he could think of to find satisfaction, Solomon concluded that these things brought him neither pleasure nor satisfaction—they were of no profit.
In his pursuit, he found himself “grasping for the wind,” that is, trying to take hold of that which has no substance—of that which amounts to “nothing.” The overriding message of his conclusion is that satisfaction comes not from the material and sensual but from the spiritual.
“He who is slow to wrath has great understanding,
But he who is impulsive exalts folly” (Proverbs 14:29).
Solomon had an understanding of human nature that leaves us in awe, and a person who masters the principles in Solomon’s teaching indeed rises above the norm. He wasn’t alone in his instruction about anger, but he was one of the most effective.
A person who can maintain self-control, even when severely provoked, shows his understanding of the fact that a public demonstration of his emotional feelings only brings shame to himself—it doesn’t win anyone to his cause.
The lesson is for us to think first before we speak. Such behavior shows that we are not foolish nor impulsive, it will gain the respect of our fellows, and it will be a powerful example for those around us to follow.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).
In his note of thanks to the Philippian church for their assistance as he has preached the gospel, the Apostle Paul takes the opportunity to encourage and admonish the Christians to whom he writes. In his message, he embeds the ideas of contentment, prayer, and thanksgiving.
Having been reminded this past week of being thankful, it is well that we refresh our minds about thanksgiving as God’s people. Our thankfulness is not restricted to one day a year but it is to be every day.
Throughout the scriptures, we are reminded that we are to be a thankful people—for the unthinkable gift of a loving Savior who made possible our forgiveness as well as for the abundant material blessings with which we have been surrounded.
With these material and spiritual blessings goes the responsibility of continuing to express our supreme gratitude to our loving Heavenly Father.