"Living Life Backward" by David Gibson


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Title: Living Life Backward: How Ecclesiastes Teaches Us to Live in Light of the End
Author: David Gibson
Start Date: 8/25/18
End Date: 8/30/18
# of Pages: 176
Edition: Crossway paperback (2017)
ISBN: 9781433556272
Purchase: Amazon

Quick Take: incredibly commendable

Source: Jackie Galonska

Why I Chose It: My friend Jackie told me to read this, and then about a dozen other people did as well.

Quotes: (1) "The message of the book is mirrored in the effect of the book. Yet Ecclesiastes also makes a very simple point: life is complex and messy, sometimes brutally so, but there is a straightforward way to look at the mess. The end will put it all right...It is the destination that makes sense of the journey." (2) "If we don't live forever, or even long enough to make a lasting difference to the world, how then should we live?" (3) "In this world, those who follow Jesus Christ never find a permanent home." (4) "Far from being something that makes life in the present completely pointless, future death is a light God shines on the present to change it...life in God's world is gift, not gain." (5) "The Preacher's whole point in this section is to show us that the world cannot be leveraged to suit me, and life is meant to be enjoyed, not mastered...'Not everything can be fixed! Not everything is a problem to be solved. Some things must be borne, must be suffered and endured.'" (6) "It is part of living well to accept two things: first, we are enclosed within time's bounds, and, second, God is no." (7) "Part of being wise in this world is learning to accept that we have only very limited access to the big picture. To be sure, we often want access to it - for God has 'put eternity into man's heart' - but the point is that we 'cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end' (3:11)...the point is that we are not build to understand the big picture." (8) "...part of growing up in the world is learning to grow small...but my story is not the story." (9) "Stop chasing the wind! Stop thinking the future will be better and easier." (10) "...the reality of God is measured by the truthfulness of his speech, not by my grasp of his presence." (11) "To see a project through to its end is better than to be the kind of person who starts and never finishes (v. 8). Patience is a virtue. Anything worthwhile takes time to develop and grow. So give it the time it needs." (12) "Wise people who understand how God has made us to long for him and for heaven don't look backward when they get nostalgic. They allow the feeling to point forward. They look up to heaven and to home." (13) "[The Preacher] wrote his book to smash into tiny pieces our idea that we can be like God." (14) "Sin fractures everything, distorts everything. It means we cannot understand everything. But sin does not uncreate everything." (15) "Those without Christ often abandon themselves to eating and drinking because sometimes it looks as if that's all there is to do before we die. But those who love Christ cherish eating and drinking because it looks a little like what we will do after we die." (16) "When we are not grateful for the little things, it is only a very short step to no longer being grateful for anything." (17) "Remember your Creator by letting his Word dispel your illusions and confronting your folly even if it hurts."

Other Notes: Best book I've read this year. So, so incredibly clear and direct, which only reveals how difficult a fairly simple premise can be to grasp (Ecclesiastes' message is brilliantly explained, and so far I'm seeing that it will still take a long time to un- and re-program how and what I think about life and death). Please read this. In fact, the first five people to read *this* and reach out to me, I'll actually buy and send you a copy (and change the number in this paragraph to reflect how many are left!)

BooksKarl Magnuson