Focal passage: Ecclesiastes 12:1-14
In two weeks, my son will turn 5. In one week, my grandfather will turn 95. With each birthday of a family member, regardless of how young or old they are, I think of the brevity of life as well as the meaning of life. Whether we are 5 or 95, we are never too young and never too old to pursue what life is about.
After discovering that much of life is vanity, at the end of Ecclesiastes, Solomon concluded that life is ultimately about fearing God and keeping His commandments.
In Ecclesiastes 12:1-8, Solomon addressed young people by detailing the downward spiral of life as one ages and instructed them to not forget their Creator in their youth. Ultimately, we all are moving toward death, “going to [our] eternal home … [as] dust returns to the earth as it was and the spirit returns to God who gave it” (12:5, 7). If we live this fleeting life while forgetting our Creator, then in the end certainly all will be vanity (12:8). However, Solomon demonstrated his wisdom in following and teaching the words that came from his Shepherd (12:9-11). The life lived in pursuit of God’s Word, then, is not in vain, but wise.
As Solomon pursued God’s Word, he reached the conclusion of what life is really about: “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (12:13). In a sense, throughout his life Solomon had it all: wisdom, knowledge, pleasure, riches, relationships and power. Yet, he discovered that all these didn’t ultimately matter. What mattered was reverent obedience to God with an eye toward eternity when he would give an account to his Creator (12:13).
As my son turns 5 and my grandfather turns 95, I am once again reminded of the brevity of life and forced to reckon at once with the true meaning of life. Whether at the beginning of life, the end of life, or somewhere in between, we all must realize at once that fearing God and obeying Him is what life is really about.