Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

So What?


Ecclesiastes 2:11  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.


I know About Profits

Having studied accounting, having passed the CPA exam, having taught accounting at the college level, having worked as a cost accounting manager in industry and having practiced as an independent CPA in my own practice, I know something about profits.  All of us are seeking them in one way or another.  Some are seeking financial profits, some are seeking emotional profits and some are seeking spiritual profits. Most of us are seeking them all.  Of course, we all want something that we think will satisfy.


Profits represent the benefits of running a business or project.  Profits always have to be measured in terms of time.  They can be for a day, a week, a year or a lifetime.  But profits are elusive.  Not having profits is of course a losing proposition.  In any endeavor whether it be a practical one or an emotional one or a spiritual one, there needs to be something positive left over at the end of the day.  But I suspect that at the end of life, most will wonder if they searched for profits in all the wrong places.  No matter how rich we are, no matter how satisfied and happy we are, when this life comes to an end, the question will have to be asked, “So what?”  Our verse says that there is no real profit under the sun, that is in this life.


To Whom are we Accountable?

I realize that many people reject the ideal that they are accountable to God.  Yet, many of these people live lives that are exemplary in terms of the the kinds of things we all should be.  They seem to have consciences that are more tender than many people who claim to be “born again.”  They love their neighbor, they show grace, they are forgiving, they are industrious, they share and they care.  But at the end of the day, why do they act right even though they think that when they die there is no accountability?  I don’t have the answer to that and each person would likely answer that question differently, but ultimately, I suspect they would all say that they do what they do because it is the right thing to do. But what did they personally gain by trying to do what they thought was right?  I am glad for the morality of these kinds of people. However, in the light of eternity, did they make decisions that really mattered?  No doubt they will be missed and some will go down in the history books,  but, “So what?”


Of course others deny their accountability to God and they care little about their fellow man.  They start wars, they are rude, contemptible, covetous, and immoral.  They are takers instead of givers.  They use their fellow man rather than helping him.  And they seem to prosper.  Even spiritual men in the Old Testament wondered about these kinds of people.  Both Psalm 37 and Psalm 73 deal with the short-term prosperity of people like this.  But at the end of life, what did they gain?   Even though they may have been envied by many, and may have appeared to have it all, what did it profit them?  Obviously, they leave it all behind for others to fight over.  And what about eternity?


The Short-run and the Long-run

Now many deny that we exist for eternity.  The concept of eternity cannot be denied however.  We know that time existed long before we did and that time will continue long after we die.  But what is involved in that unlimited time span when many would say time is no more?  It is the idea of eternity that makes me want to question what this life is all about.  It makes me question what is profitable and what is not.  I have dreamed the dreams of youth, tried to accomplish the goals of middle age, have tried to achieve the wisdom of age and obviously have failed miserably.  I think of the Lord’s question, “For what will it profit a man (or woman) if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  (Mark 8:36-37).  If we do exist for eternity (and God says that we do), for what are we selling our eternal souls?  We normally look at these verses from the standpoint of the unsaved that are living for the benefits of time and forgetting about the cost of losing their souls for eternity.  The unsaved tend to forget that this life involves short-run profits, while eternity deals with the long-run. 


How About the Christian?

But while these verses likely apply to those who have rejected Christ as their Savior, I have to wonder if they have an application to those of us who are saved.  Are we making long-run decisions that will benefit us for eternity or are we making all of our decisions for short-term happiness in this life?  Are we thinking about the short-run or the long-run? 


When life is over, and that may come sooner rather than later, will our lives be an asterisk in our family’s history or will we have amounted to something for eternity?  The preacher in Ecclesiastes was frustrated after having accomplished everything there was to accomplish in that day.  And now he says, I did it, “So what?”  I personally have lived for many years and the Lord has been good to me and my family and yet I have to ask myself, in the light of eternity, did I pursue eternal profits or temporal profits with my life?  Will the Lord look at my life and say, “So what?”


Bruce Collins


Meditation for the week of March 20, 2016

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