Fear God Early in Life (Ecclesiastes 12:1-8)

Life is busy; it has always been this way. In the days before mechanization, people had to walk distances to work if they lived in the city. Or if they lived and worked in farming, the days were long between the demands of morning and evening milking, while also tending to the fields. I recall grandparent stories of both of those scenarios, and while fascinated by many details, I recall being grateful in the extreme that I lived in the modern era (of the early 60s when hearing these accounts).

So we can be thankful that we have so many new devices of the computer/technological era, all of which work together to give us more leisure time, right?  Nope, don’t think so. I’ve never seen people so driven by so many things as in our day. My early ministry years were very simple by comparison, as simply having any sort of meeting or gathering was much easier to schedule. People travelled much less and were very regular in church attendance week to week.

All of the conveniences of the modern era have not made our lives less complex … no, just the opposite. Elucidating all the reasons for this would be an interesting study.

So, with the increased busyness of life, it is a fact that it is easier than ever to put off the things of eternal values.

I know for a fact that many people have great desires to soon make their faith and the fostering of an intimate relationship with God to be a discipline that is just over the next horizon. Once education is completed and the fun of young adult independence has been indulged, then God will become a priority. Next, when marriage is entered, then it will be time to connect with the Lord more specifically. Surely as children come and are growing, that will be the time to bring God also into the family. After the kids are grown and gone and life settles down, church and faith disciplines can be given attention at last. Soon the grave is closer than ever, but never was God a priority, and the following generations evidence that absence particularly.

One is left at last with “ought-to-have” or “Shoulda, coulda, woulda.”  I actually saw a blog by that name that aptly quoted American playwright Arthur Miller (Death of a Salesman) who said, “Maybe all we can hope to do is end up with the right regrets.”  Wow!  That’s almost Solomonic!

Indeed, as Solomon turns toward the finish line in this final 12th chapter of Ecclesiastes, the exhortation is clear from the first line, Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come …

The remainder of this thought goes on to give colorful pictures of aging. Remember God before these things happen …

  • the days of diminished joy and darker gloom from accumulated years and decreased vitality.
  • when the arms and legs tremble, the back is stooped, legs are bent and feeble, the teeth are fewer in number, and the eyes fail as light dims.
  • when one cannot sleep well and the sound of birds is no longer heard.
  • when fears develop about heights and venturing out of the house.
  • the hair turns grey and white, movement is torturously slow, and appetites fail.
  • death comes, and the body returns to the dust of the ground.

So when is the time to make God a priority in life if you have not done so? Right now! If you’re more younger than older, that is a bonus for sure – beyond being the way it should be done. If you’re more older than younger, yes, there has been time lost; but there is no sense in losing more time. And yes again, better late than never.

All of this is because life is ________ … you guessed it – “meaningless” or “vain.”  Again, this is the word used throughout that speaks of brevity, literally of a “breath,” of life as a “poof.”

Know God. Walk and talk with him daily. Life, albeit short, does not work without him.

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