ECCLESIASTES 12:5-7: “Remember him before you become fearful of falling and worry about danger in the streets; before your hair turns white like an almond tree in bloom, and you drag along without energy like a dying grasshopper, and the caperberry no longer inspires sexual desire. Remember him before you near the grave, your everlasting home, when the mourners will weep at your funeral. Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young, before the silver cord of life snaps and the golden bowl is broken. Don’t wait until the water jar is smashed at the spring and the pulley is broken at the well. For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.” NLT
OBSERVATION: When did I get old? It seems like just yesterday that I was walking down the corridors of high school, working at the supermarket, and dreaming about my life. When you are a teenager it seems like there is an eternity before you. Then, one day you wake up and look in the mirror. Decades have passed. You still feel like that teenager inside, but the reflection in the mirror is someone you don’t know.
Flash – We will all get old!
Age is relative. I know I have friends who look at me and think I am young. Age is a matter of perspective. I will never forget my dear grandmother. We called her Nanny. She was my Mother’s Mother. Nanny always tried to stay current. She always dressed sharply and never looked like an old person. She kept up with the latest music and news. I remember when she was 86 she told me about the elderly person who lived next store. This person was 90.
Age is relative to our perspective.
Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, grew old. Ecclesiastes is a book that records his honest evaluation of life from the perspective of a wise older man. He was not only the wisest man in the world but also one of the wealthiest. He tried to find the meaning of life in everything – building, achievements, wisdom, power, literally anything he desired to do. The final observation of Solomon was that there is nothing in this life that will give us true meaning.
Our meaning is only found in our relationship to the Lord.
We live in a youth oriented culture. Everything is geared toward attracting the next generation. In our Western culture, we do not respect the elderly, we push them aside. We do this in every aspect of our life. Seniors are marginalized and their opinions are seen as antiquated. Yet, in Eastern culture the reverse is true. Seniors are honored and their wisdom is sought and revered. We need to revere the wisdom of Solomon. I wish I had received this wisdom into my heart when I was a teenager!
- “Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young, before the silver cord of life snaps and the golden bowl is broken.”
I have met many old and bitter people. They did not remember their Creator while they were young. They have become hardened in their disdain for life and society. Is it any wonder why this saying is so popular – “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks!” How many lives are filled with regret as they look in the rearview mirror of life? How many missed opportunities and relationships lie unfulfilled because we failed to seek God in our youth?
So what can we glean from these verses? If you are young – seek God now! In the blink of an eye, one morning, you will look in the mirror and not know who is looking back at you. You will no longer hold the job that gave you purpose, your children will be grown and on their own, and you will be faced with limitations that you never even thought about in your youth. Life goes by in the snap of a finger. The time to seek the Lord is now!
What about if I am already old? What if I squandered the days of my youth? What if my rearview mirror is filled with too many regrets to count?
Let me tell you a story about Bill!
Bill was a man in his late 70s. I was a young pastor of only 23 years of age. I had as much in common with Bill as oil has in common with water. Bill’s lovely wife Betty attended our church in beautiful Mt. Baldy, California. The church is a picturesque Stone Chapel with an A-framed window that looks out onto the beautiful mountainscape. I asked Betty to invite her husband to church. Her reply was,
“He will never darken the door of a church. He is an angry and bitter man!”
Yet, Bill did come. Bill loved the mountains, so when his wife asked him to come along, he did. The wonderful thing is that Bill kept coming. I never met the angry and bitter man that Betty had described. Bill embraced Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and Lord and the Bill I met was transformed. He was kind, gentle, and became the husband that Betty never knew. He continued to live for Christ for the remainder of his life. And, the most important thing is that Bill continues to live in the presence of Jesus Christ for eternity!
We cannot change our past. However, we all can allow Jesus Christ to redeem our present and our future!
To the young – seek God now while He can be found! The story of Bill’s life is not guaranteed. I have met more people who did not seek the Lord in their youth and hardened their hearts in their old age. The time to seek the Lord is now!
To the old, and myself – focus on the present and the future! Let God heal and redeem your past. Draw close to God. Seek Him for your daily strength. Let your faith and obedience to Jesus Christ be a witness to the next generation. Don’t focus on what you cannot do. Do everything that you can do to the glory of God!
Lord, my life has changed. I don’t have the same physical stamina that I once had. I don’t look the same as I once did. Yet, within my spirit, I am the same young man that committed his life to you at the age of 18. May I engage this part of my life with the same commitment and enthusiasm for Your Kingdom as I did those many years ago? Grant me the grace to seek You fully today and every day!
In Jesus Name!