My parents tried to talk to my wife and me about saving for the future when we were in our twenties. We decided that we did not have any money to put away at that time. Our second child had just been born, and the idea of a pension was not of even remote interest to us. To be young! To think that death is so far away! The wise young man or woman will give some serious consideration to the future. No matter how old you are, take a look around you and embrace the truth that death can come in a moment, and that if you live long enough to experience growing old, you will face significant changes that you would be very wise to plan for when you are young.
The Preacher offers these important words in this final chapter of Ecclesiastes: “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth.” Long life is a blessing, but it does have challenges. Decades pass by more quickly than expected, though individual days may seem to last too long. The burden of a long life upon your body and your mind may cause you to decide that there is little left for you when you reach old age. Even so, you still may not be ready to finish your life and to go to be with the Lord.
Many generalizations that could be offered about the aging process would be difficult to prove, but some things can be said with confidence. Your present body is mortal and you will begin to feel that mortality as you age. While some of the details may vary, here is what you can expect. Your eyes will not work as well as they once did, your hands will not be as steady, and even your mind may show signs of age that will not be entirely positive. You will probably lose some teeth, you will have problems with your hearing, you won’t stand up straight, and more than all of that, you may be strangely impatient and even more intolerant than you were as a young man, since disappointments and anxieties will take their awful toll.
Therefore, use your youth well. Your body generally has its highest capacities when you are in your late teens, twenties, and early thirties. The challenge of those important years of vitality may be that the very sufferings that can leave the plaque of regret on the heart of an old man are useful in building the character of a young man. By the time that you have had the foolishness of youth beaten out of you, you are starting to move past your prime. Blessed is the man who, through suffering and a consideration of God and the world in his years of young adulthood, is able to gain some wisdom while he still enjoys a good measure of bodily health.
Remember your Creator in your youth! Develop the habit of humility as a young man. Bow before God and it will serve you well throughout your life. Live wisely in your most productive years and then finish well in your declining years. One day, you don’t know when, maybe before your hair has a chance to turn white, you will go to your eternal home. Your silver cord will snap, your golden bowl will break, your pitcher will shatter, releasing its precious contents. The wheel of your life will no longer turn, broken beyond repair, your body will be buried in the ground, returning to dust, and your spirit will go to be with God who gave you life.
The Preacher knows what he is talking about. He had wisdom in his day. Now he is with God. He wrote wonderful proverbs and arranged them with great care. He composed words of delight into a love poem, and he authored this important book of obvious and challenging truth. He accomplished amazing things and he surely made many mistakes. If he was willing to take his own advice, he remembered his Creator, the one Shepherd of our souls, who can lead us in the way of the wisdom that comes from heaven.
There are many words in this fleeting world, but not all of them are equally beneficial. Hear the conclusion of this consideration of life under the sun. Do you want to live wisely? Then fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. Why? Because God will bring every deed into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.
Do you have a life that is so pure that the Lord could examine your every hidden thought, word, and action, and conclude that you live with perfect wisdom? No? That is why the Wisdom of God came from heaven. Jesus did this for you, accomplishing His greatest work through His death for your sins. His resurrection is your assurance that His death was successful. When you remember your Creator in your youth or even on the day of your own death, don’t forget that your Creator became your Redeemer. You will go to be with Him when He calls you to Himself. Do not throw your life away. Live it wisely despite your weakness. God is in charge. The work of Christ is perfect, and it will last forever. Enjoy the gifts that are your portion even today, and remember that your Redeemer lives beyond the sun in a world that is without futility and foolishness.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Sovereign Lord, if only we could convince young men and women to be wise! There is a process or an event coming to all men of trouble and decay until the day that Your Son returns. The body is proceeding to the grave. There comes an injury that finally breaks the link between the body and the soul. Yet from generation to generation Your Word lives on. There is One Shepherd. He speaks. We hear You, O God. We fear You, O Lord. You are different from us. You are the Judge, and You are the Answer. It is profound wisdom to remember You and to live for You. Grant us that wisdom now and forever.