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Ecclesiastes 11:10 A lifetime spent praising God and following His Word is much more fruitful than the frivolities of youth
“So refuse to worry, and keep your body healthy. But remember that youth, with a whole life before you, is meaningless.”
Ecclesiastes 11:10 NLT
Ah, youth… It was so nice when I was young, had amazing amounts of energy, and knew everything! When I started working with “older people”, it seemed as if I would always be a young man… until younger people came into our company. Time passed, and pretty soon the young engineer was the older and wiser mentor. Now I’m quite old, although I’m not sure I’ve ever been wise.
Today’s somewhat depressing verse is from Ecclesiastes, which seems to have been written by someone despairing of life. The author, who calls himself “The Preacher” or “The Teacher”, is thought to be King David’s son — the wise King Solomon.
In Ecclesiastes, Solomon repeats the solemn phrase “everything is meaningless”. That could be misconstrued as meaning that nothing — even God — matters. Michael Eaton, in his commentary on Ecclesiastes, points out that this point of view is completely wrong:
“What, then, is the purpose of Ecclesiastes? It is an essay in apologetics. It defends the life of faith in a generous God by pointing to the grimness of the alternative.”
“He does not come as a formal philosopher; it is a word from God he has to share, despite his reflective low-key approach. He does not present half-a-dozen arguments for the existence of God. Instead he picks up our own questions. Can you cope with life without having any idea where you are going? You don’t have all the answers to life’s enigmas, do you? Your neo-pagan view of life doesn’t give you any hope of achieving very much, does it? Nature will not answer your questions, and you are bored by it anyway. History baffles your attempts to understand it. You don’t like to think about your own death; yet it is the most certain fact about your existence.”1
Taken at face value, today’s verse could be interpreted as meaning, “Hey, young person, you’re going to die someday, but just stay healthy and and quit worrying about it.” From the eternity viewpoint, one’s entire lifetime leading up to death is what’s important. Live your life knowing that your belief in Jesus Christ and following His commands results in an eternity with the Lord, and your earthly existence seems trivial by comparison.
Let’s finish with this upbeat commentary from David Guzik:
If we accept the truth of the next few lines; that there is more to life than what we can see — that there is an eternity and an eternal God to reckon with — then the legitimate pleasures of life can be enjoyed in the best sense. One doesn’t try to find meaning in those pleasures, but simply some good seasoning for a life that finds its meaning in eternity and the eternal God.2
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
Lord, I thank You for the life I have lived to this point. Thank You for Your Word, which has given me more wisdom and the ability to take the eternal view of life. I long to live the rest of my life in a manner pleasing to You, so that I may spend eternity in Your glorious presence. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.
Eaton, Michael A. "Ecclesiastes: An Introduction and Commentary" Volume 17 (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries) (Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1983)
Guzik, David. Enduring Word Ministry, commentary used with written permission of the author.