It seems like yesterday when we entered the year 2016 and so soon September is here with us. That was fast.
Now thank we all our God
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom his world rejoices;
who from our mothers’ arms
has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.¹
You made resolutions when we entered 2016,didn’t you? You may pause to ask “How well have I fared with my resolutions?”A new month presents us with an opportunity to make amends in particular areas of our lives. It was the Apostle Paul who wrote “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?— unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (2Corinthians 13:5). Self-examination and evaluation is crucial in this life and the life after here. At the end of our lives this side of eternity, we will be called to account before God. Our life here therefore matters for eternity.
As we go through this new month, let us glean a few lessons from Ecclesiastes 12:1-7 which I trust will be valuable.
1. Seek God
“Remember your Creator in the days of your youth…”(v.1a)
There are those who will do everything else but commit their lives to live and obey God. They don’t seek Him. Don’t be one of them. The days of your youth as used here by Solomon I believe indicates the days of strength, wellness and ability. Comfort and “good days” have the ability to blind us to spiritual realities and we must guard against this. Jesus tells us to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33).
Solomon contrasts “the good days of strength (the days of your youth)” with the evil day when you have lost your strength: “…before the evil days come…” (Ecclesiastes 12:1a). There is a correlation between how we live our lives and what place God has in our lives in moments of prosperity, good health and comfort. The tendency to forget there is a creator is high. Thus, Solomon’s call to “Remember your Creator ”is appropriate as we go through the rest of the year.
2: Make Wise Use Of Time.
“…before the evil days come and the years draw near”(v.1b).
A transition from from youthful strength, opportunities and abilities will be gone one day. These won’t always be available. This obviously includes opportunity to live in submission and obedience to God. It is said that, “time waits for no man” and it is true. J. Oswald Sanders in his book, Spiritual Leadership, wrote that “Each moment of the day is a gift from God that deserves care, for by any measure, our time is short and the work is great. Minutes and hours wisely used translate into an abundant life— living a God pleasing life”. We will be held accountable for how we lived our lives and what we spent our time on.“Look carefully then”, Paul said “how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil”.(Eph 5:15-16). Moses prayed: “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom”(Ps. 90:12KJV).
Will you make that your prayer?
3: Death, A Reality of Life
“…man is going to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets— before the silver cord is snapped , or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is shattered
at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it” (vv.5-7)
We see death clearly spoken of here. Death is inevitable. We will all die, because “… it is appointed unto men once to die….” (Hebrews 9: 27). Death is a reality of life. Not only is death a reality, death points us to the brevity of life.“All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls” (1Peter 1:24). Once we are born, we will die. Scripture tells us there is “A time to be born, and a time to die….” (Ecclesiastes 3:2). Every passing month and year brings us closer to the end of our days here on earth. We don’t get a notification when death will knock at our door. Death will not wait for you to accomplish your projects, dreams and desires. You are not too busy to die. You don’t have the luxury of postponing your death.
Have you considered the state of your soul? “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts”(Hebrews 3:15).
4: Eternity–eternal life or damnation–Beckons.
“…man is going to his eternal home… and the spirit returns to God who gave it (vv5-7).
There is an eternal home for all of us. Either we will have eternal life or eternal damnation. As we begin a new month, and as you consider all that has been said in the previous points, bear in mind our life here is only temporal. Eternity awaits all of us and whether we will be in heaven or hell depends on what we do with God’s offer of eternal life. We are all sinners and until we come to faith in Christ, we are eternally separated from God. Don’t just embrace a new month, embrace also God’s gift of eternal life through faith in Christ:
For God so loved the world , that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).