Monday, August 25, 2014

Back to Basics

By Cherry Moriones Doromal

Hello there! This is Cherry D. speaking

I was invited to speak before a congregation of a small community Christian church in Manila last Sunday. And in my attempt to prepare the message, I was waiting for a perfect internet connection last weekend whereby, for whatever reason, all my internet providers at home failed to give me a stable internet access (not sure if it’s only in the Philippines that we experience it). 

Therefore, I ended up manually outlining my message using a recycled notebook, pen and my Bible --not the electronic one. It was a realization that despite full exposure to modernization, we couldn’t rely on technology all the time; hence, the best thing is to get back to basics. 

Yes, “Back to Basics” had been our topic which I’m simplifying into a blog today.

My hope is that we all learn from the book of Ecclesiastes which was authored by no less than King Solomon, who also wrote the books Proverbs and Song of Songs.

King Solomon, son of King David, as we know, was blessed with unsurpassed wisdom, with bonuses of power and riches, allowing him to rule over Israel for 40 years. He enjoyed life at its fullest-- drinking wine, rejoicing, and having, literally, a thousand wives and mistresses. Many scholars believe that King Solomon died in his 60s, calculating that he began his kingship at about 20 years old or less, and ruled Israel for forty years.

With his stature and wisdom, what else could a King Solomon ask for? In Ecclesiastes 1, we can see that after all his achievements and glory, King Solomon was at a point of consciousness that everything is life is meaningless. Probably, what he was experiencing is comparable to some signs of midlife crisis that people in their late 40s experience today. In verse 3, he said: “What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun?” And in Chapter 12, the last chapter of Ecclesiastes, the author clearly emphasized the need for us to remember our Creator in the days of our youth. He ended up saying that ultimately, the whole duty of man is to "fear God and to keep His commandments”, because every work, good or bad, exposed or done in secret will be judged in time.

Back to basics! 

Academically, I finished four courses already, plus one honorary degree, and at present, concurrently taking up another masters and a diploma program. Not to mention that I’m a wife and a mom, too. Busy huh? Having said these, the story of King Solomon allowed me to contemplate on my most important title: “Servant of my Father God”. That is the basic me, which I need to fully assess continually, and while I am still physically strong.

In reality, no matter what we do, what we achieve, and wherever we go, at the end of the day, we will get back to basics. I agree with King Solomon when he opined that he had achieved much, and at the prime of his life, what he sowed would be reaped by others. The thing is that life is a cycle and all our accomplishments will be forgotten in time. 

Have you seen the guests of the recent State of the Nation Address (SONA) by President Aquino? Or are you not stunned by the luxurious outfits celebrities wear on awards night? No matter how sophisticated and expensive the evening wears celebrities put on, at the end of the day, these superstars will go to bed with the simplest and most comfortable outfits, with no makeup on and have only the basic sleeping wears as they retire at night.

Getting back to basics…

Remember what we learned during our Pre-school and Kindergarten years, where we were trained to distinguish the difference of every thing in terms of color, size and number? “Encircle the biggest.” “Which is the tallest?” Things like that. So that, later in life, we will get to be scrupulous in observing our day- to- day experiences and get used to knowing or perceiving which is right or wrong. In the same way, we get to become good writers by applying the basic knowledge of the alphabet and spelling which we learned in elementary years. 

King Solomon knew the basic law in his heart since day one. Before inheriting the throne, his father King David reminded him to always follow God’s decrees and commands (1 Kings 2:3-4). However, along the way, Solomon broke specific commandments God gave to the future kings of Israel such as: “Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away” Deuteronomy 17:17, among others.

None of us is above the law! For instance, one may temporarily fight aging-- which is a law of nature-- through botox, stem cell therapy, cosmetic surgery, etcetera. Those processes may only take effect for a moment, but, in the long run, the law of nature will prevail. Meaning, all signs of physical deterioration will be visible, whether we like it or not. 

Just like Solomon, we are kings of our lives. And due to numerous priorities we are busy at, we tend to forget that we are governed by different laws which we cannot get away from—the law of nature, the law of man, and the law of God. With our fast-paced and high-tech lifestyle today, may we learn to set aside our vanity and decide to get back to basics. 

 If you have time, read the whole book of Ecclesiastes; it’s only 12 chapters, anyway. 

And before we end up, let me leave you these words of wisdom from King Solomon: 

Ecclesiastes 2:4-11

4 I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. 5 I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 6 I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. 7 I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. 8 I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired male and female singers, and a harem as well—the delights of a man’s heart. 9 I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me. 10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure.My heart took delight in all my labor,and this was the reward for all my toil. 11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve,everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.

And in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14: 13 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. 

Video: The Whole Duty of Man as Recited by the then 4th Grader Zekie Doromal   (He's 8th Grader now)

Video: The Whole Duly of Man as recited by the then pre-schooler Zecheriah (He's 4th Grader now) 

More posts by this author:

Pass the Message 
Basic Tips to Betrayed Wives 

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