Act before it is too late.

Act Before It Is Too Late
Ecclesiastes 12:1-8

“Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, ‘I have no delight in them.’”

Having encouraged youth to enjoy life and the present, Solomon concludes with a warning that provides perspective. Solomon compares the decay of age to the decaying effects of an old house in one of the most picturesque allegories in scripture. In verses 2-6, We find a number of descriptive phrases that give a vivid picture of the physical decline that occurs as age brings its destructive force upon our lives. The allegories present a vivid picture of old age that might be paraphrased in this way: “3) Before the mental capacities decline and the struggles of life return, when our body starts to tremble with feebleness, and the body becomes bent and stooped over. When the teeth no longer chew because they are few and the eyes no longer see with clarity, and 4) the ears no longer hear the sound of workers in the street, and yet the slightest sound and disturbance awakens us in the night because sleep is fleeting. 5) When we become fearful of heights and dangers in the street because we no longer have the strength and our head becomes white like a tree in blossom and our steps become feeble and slow, and all sexual desire is lost, and then death comes upon us, and mourners gather to remember. 6) When the spinal cord is broken and the skull is crusted and the spring of life goes dry, 7) then our physical bodies return to the dust from which we came and our spirit returns to God.”  


    Once, when I was visiting with an individual who was on hospice and was in the final days of his life, he remarked, “How did we get here so fast.” While we are young and all of life is ahead of us, it seems to stretch to eternity. We give no thought to our death because it seems so distant that it is beyond our view. But when we look back at the end of our lives, it seems as if life has passed in just a moment. When we are young, our dreams are many and seem attainable as we have an endless life before us. But as we get older and the ravenous effect of age takes its toll, our dreams become forgotten memories as age robs us of the ability to fulfill those dreams.
For Solomon, this reminder serves as a corrective balance for the young person to remember. While enjoying the moment, we are always to be mindful of the march of time and that we must give an account of our lives before God. When Solomon challenges us to “remember also your Creator in the days of your youth,” he is challenged to always have as the North Star of life the recognition that we will have to an account to God, and so we live in a way that keeps God at the focus. To “remember” calls for decisive action in which we continue to live with the recognition that we will give an account to God for our life, so we are to live appropriately in response. Paul reminds us of this same truth when he writes, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” Recognizing that we live for Christ and give an account to him of our life brings a complete reorientation of life. We are to enjoy life as a gift from God and enjoy life in the present, but always view life from an eternal perspective so that we live and enjoy life in the right way. We enjoy the life God has given us by serving him in the present. As you plan your day, how do your plans align with God’s purpose and plans? That is the underlying question we should ask each morning.

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