Ecclesiastes 7:1a “A good name is better than precious ointment”
For the past 6 chapters Solomon has taken us on a meaningless adventure ride. He’s told us that he is better than we are, more powerful than we will ever be, more wealthier than we will ever be, and has more experience with pleasures than we will ever experience. Yet, in the end, he has found that it is meaningless. Chapter 7 moves us away from his experience and in to an impartation of wisdom. In fact, your section headings in this chapter may read, The Contrast of Wisdom and Folly.
The words name and ointment (V. 1) are most likely play on words. In the Hebrew, name is sheem and ointment is shemen. Since ointment was a costly luxury, one could assume that Solomon is talking about how we spend so much money and time trying to make ourselves look good externally, while the growth of our character is left undeveloped. We can go to the gym, get botox, tummy tucks, apply anti-cellulite creams, eat greens and drink cleansers; but at the end of your life, who cares how you look if your personality and character stinks. Our desire to look better externally more than we do internally has been a cancer to our society and churches.
This is only the outworking of discontentment. Since you have tried to live in a hyper-reality world where everything is put-together, you end up looking good on the outside, but inside you smell like a rotten corpse. This is a form of demonic “Christianity” that we have fallen in to that says, “Let me look good on the outside and let me say the right things”, meanwhile you’re soul is rotting.
Living a life devoted to external living is similar to a grown man swimming in the kiddie pool. Which means that your soul is shallow and you refuse to grow. Do you know what freaks me out? Seeing a grown man with no kids swimming in the kiddie pool. This should cause concern for everyone.
In the end, what God is after is our heart, not our external behavior and how we look. If we surrender our heart to Jesus, then the externals will take care of themselves.
Why do we pretend that our lives are put together, while our hearts are in despair?
How have you given more concern to how you are viewed than the growth of your soul and character?
“A godly character is the best tombstone.” – Charles H. Spurgeon