Rule Number 6


Besides being a wise man, the Preacher also taught the people much learning. He thought about, and looked for, and put together many wise sayings. The Preacher looked to find pleasing words and to write words of truth in the right way.

The words of wise men are like a stick. Their gathered sayings are like well-driven nails given by one Shepherd. But more than this, my son, be careful. There is no end to the writing of many books and reading many of them makes the body tired.

The last word, after all has been heard, is: Honor God and obey His Laws. This is all that every person must do. For God will judge every act, even everything which is hidden, both good and bad.

These are the last recorded words written by King Solomon in the Bible.  He wrote the book of Ecclesiastes some time before his death in 931 B.C.  It was likely toward the end of his 83-year life, after achieving status as the known world’s richest, wisest, and most admired man.  In fact, the Bible says Solomon’s wisdom “surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.” (1 Kings 4:30).

Solomon spent his life doing great deeds, and in the end, he learned Rule Number 6 (sometimes called Rule Number 3).

What is Rule Number 6?

It’s a story, told differently depending on who’s telling it, but it always goes like this:

A man became angry, pompously screaming and shouting his demands.  Another man in the room admonished him for his outburst, telling him to mind Rule Number 6.  The angry man asked “What’s Rule Number 6?”  The reply was, “Don’t take yourself so seriously.”  The angry man then asked what the other rules are.  “There are no other rules,” came the answer.

All the wisdom of the wisest man in the world is reduced down to this one truth.

Why should we not take ourselves too seriously?  Because we are not own own.  Violating Rule Number 6 means honoring our “self.”  Me.  Mine.  My.  And if we belong to God, then we can’t honor Him and ourselves at the same time.

Jesus affirmed this.

“Teacher, which one is the greatest of the Laws?” Jesus said to him, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest of the Laws. The second is like it, ‘You must love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ All the Laws and the writings of the early preachers depend on these two most important Laws.”  (Matthew 22:36-40).

Nowhere does the Bible say to love yourself more than you love others, and nowhere does it say that you are to love yourself above loving God.  Love of self is what our “self” wants to do.  After all, we see the world with ourselves at the center.  But God says we must see the world through His eyes.

The only way to do that is to mind Rule Number 6.  There are no other rules.

(crossposted from sgberman.com)

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