“The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.”
The person who is looking to make in impact in life must realize that life is not a playground, but a battlefield where you must fight the whims of the flesh, the errors of the Devil, and the compromise of friends. The verse above makes it clear that life is not a playground when it says, “…but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” In this chapter, the LORD teaches several principles about life not being a playground.
First, it will be a battle to keep a good name. Verse 1 says, “A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.” You won’t have a good name at the end of life by playing through life. The heroes of history became heroes, not because they played through life, but because they battled through adversity. You’ll never earn respect if you are always looking for the easy life. Your name is something you will have to work to keep if you want to have a good name on the day of your death. Many people have had a good name for years only to spot it with one moment of pleasure. You will find that pleasure has ruined many good names. If you want to have a good name when you die, you need to stop playing and start doing right.
Second, the best life is built through the sorrows of hard work. Several times in this chapter, God talks about the “house of mourning” and “sorrow.” The reason God makes so much of this is because you won’t have a good name and a life to be copied by seeking pleasure. The pleasure-seeking individual always follows what the flesh perceives as fun and a good idea; whereas, the principled life seeks to do what is the right thing to do, but won’t always be the easiest or most fun thing to do. I have watched too many people avoid those areas of life that didn’t seem to be “fun” only to find them ruining the potential God placed inside of them. You will never reach your potential in life if you always try to avoid that which takes hard work to accomplish.
Third, life won’t always be fun and games. The “house of mourning” is always in the history of the successful. You never find the best rising to the top on the playground, but you find them on the battlefield. If you determine what you are going to do in life by how fun and easy it is going to be, you will miss the greatest opportunities that the LORD has sent your way to make the most out of your life. Let me encourage you to stop seeking the areas of life that are fun, and seek the areas of life where the LORD can make the most out of you.
Fourth, rebuke is always in the pathway of the successful. Verse 5 says, “It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.” You won’t hear the rebuke that gives you the treasured wisdom for life in the “house of mirth.” If you are one who always avoids the rebuke of the wise person, you will find yourself falling into the traps of the foolish.
Fifth, a successful life takes patience. Verse 8 says, “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” The most productive ways of life are never easy at the beginning, but they are enjoyed at the end. Let me encourage you not to choose what to do by its beginning, but choose what to do by looking at the end. It takes patience to see the fruit of doing right.