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Inspiration: The more things change

I was born on my father’s 35th birthday. Later this month I will turn 35 and my dad will turn 70.

My wife and I are also expecting our fourth child this month. The baby isn’t due for a few more weeks, but I’m kind of expecting that he or she may decide to arrive early and join my dad and me on our birthday celebration. It would be pretty remarkable to have three generations of Borlands sharing the same birthday, each separated by 35 years.

I’m kind of hoping this happens, but I’m pretty sure my wife desires a few more weeks of sleeping at night before the baby comes!

My wife and I have been thinking a lot about our new baby, but I’ve also been thinking about my dad. It’s really strange to picture my father being my age. Thirty-five years ago, he was a married, working father, anticipating the birth of a new child. I’ve always thought of my dad as a man who is established, as a mature and wise adult, as a hard worker, and as an experienced husband and father.

It’s strange to think of him as a younger man, having young children, facing the stresses and challenges of work, marriage, faith and family life.

I’ve been wondering what his life was like before I knew him. I bet he faced some of the same pressures and uncertainties that I face. I’m sure that it wasn’t always easy for him, and I imagine that it was during his younger years that he gained the maturity and wisdom that I have seen in him later in his life.

While much has rapidly changed in our culture over the past 35 years, there are many things that remain the same from generation to generation.

In every generation people struggle to earn a living, maintain their marriages, raise their children and find purpose in their lives.

Ecclesiastes is a great book of wisdom in the Scripture that reminds us of those universal human struggles and our common desire to find meaning in our lives. It’s a book that tells us that despite how much our societies change, there are many things that remain the same.

There really is “nothing new under the sun” (Ecc. 1:9). And while this book was written more than 2,500 years ago, it remains completely relevant for our day; a day in which so many people continue to “chase after the wind” (Ecc. 1:14).

In his search for wisdom, the writer of Ecclesiastes discovered many truths. He addresses topics like the value of wisdom, the frustrations of work, the fleeting nature of wealth and youth, the struggles of oppression and the inevitability of death. In all of his searching for meaning, he comes to one final conclusion about what really matters: “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecc. 12:13).

There are some things that will always remain true. We were created to find our purpose in God, and this truth remains always relevant. It was true in the ancient world. It was true for my father when he was a young man, and it remains true for us today, no matter how much else changes.