Surprises. - Ecclesiastes 9:13-15.
March 23, 2023, 9:20 AM


Unpredictability produces Surprises.

Eccl. 9:13-15

“I also saw under the sun this example of wisdom that greatly impressed me: There was once a small city with only a few people in it. And a powerful king came against it, surrounded it and built huge siegeworks against it.

Now there lived in that city a man poor but wise, and he saved the city by his wisdom. But nobody remembered that poor man.”

Underdogs win sometimes. We are witnessing that in March Madness play-offs with much lower ranked basketball teams beating larger and more talented teams. It is also frustrating in sports when millions of dollars are paid to the best players making the lower paid teams and coaches automatic losers. We live in a world where prejudice abounds against those less talented, less rich, less popular.

Susan Boyle was an overnight success on Britain’s Got Talent to the surprise to Simon Cowell and the rest of the judges. Even the audience didn’t expect the timid, spinster, church volunteer at 47 years of age bring the house down with the beauty of her voice. The cheers were not just for her talent, but for the surprise of someone who did not impress others with her looks, dress, or personality, shock the world with her talent.

see the autistic, but enthusiastic basketball manager, 17-year-old Jason McElwain from Greece Athena High School who just encouraged the other players. Just to honor him in his senior year, the coach let him play in the last part if the last home game. He delighted the home crowd by shooting a surprising 3 point long shot, but it didn’t stop there. He did it again, and again and again. In the few minutes remaining, he gained for his team 20 points and won the game. He was carried off the court on the shoulders of his teammates.

These stories are surprising in a couple of ways. The underdog wins. The least popular surpasses the favorites. The forgotten outshine the heroes. There is something within us that touches the heart of our own feelings of feeling unworthy. For once the weakest link becomes the strongest. We feel good about that and say talent deserves to be honored above those who flaunt it.

In this short illustration Solomon acknowledges a poor man who stands up with his wisdom against the advances of a king and his army and is able to save the city. The city is spared. Wisdom wins over might. What isn’t surprising is that no one could come up with his name and there was no banquet given in his honor. He remained in the shadows and forgotten. It might be likely the mayor of the city got the honors. Wisdom was better than strength. Brains beat brawn and this poor man didn't get the prize, or reward. That seemed so unfair. He didn't get the credit for his wisdom or work, but God knows.

might be true the notoriety goes to the boss instead of the secretary who prepared his presentation. It seems typical the bonus payments go to those in supervisory positions while the employee, who originally presented the winning idea, is transferred to another department or laid off.

Many forgotten people who do right are known by God and that's enough. More than that, God often chooses to work through clay vessels so that He might receive the glory. He is the giver of talent, wisdom, strength, voice, and life. Jesus chose to come among the poor and be ridiculed, ignored, and rejected. He understands our world. He knows our hearts. He keeps the final score in the end.