At the recent funeral of my 27 year old brother in law, I shared a selection from the book of Ecclesiastes.
The phrase “the house of mourning” had been on my mind for months prior to the tragic events that unfolded over the past week. It was something I couldn’t shake. Here is the scripture I was drawn to:
“It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.” Eccl 7:2-4
What the writer wants us to realize that until we have settled the issues of life and death in our hearts then we are foolish to live like we are untouchable. Death is the destiny of every man. We must all take this to heart.
We may be able to entertain ourselves with various diversions and partying, with drinking and drugging our problems away, but we are only hiding from the reality we must all face. We are not indestructible. We are more than our bodies. We have eternity in our hearts. We must answer to our Creator. That’s why the writer says that the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure. He wants to escape. He doesn’t want to feel the pain of mourning, of laying reality to heart, of checking his lifestyle in regards to being responsible to the one who gave Him life in the first place. He doesn’t want to be accountable, and in the same way we ignore the check engine light in our cars, he is only prolonging the inevitable.
It’s been said alot, but it’s worth repeating, “Our hearts are truly restless until they find their rest in God.” If we will go to the house of mourning first and get right with God, if we will take eternal issues to heart, God will give us more than the “house of partying, drinking, drugging, and pleasure,” could have ever given us. We will be known among the wise. We will be truly free.