Ecclesiastes 11:8-12:1 So if a person lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember that the days of darkness will be many. All that comes is vanity. Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment. Remove vexation from your heart, and put away pain from your body, for youth and the dawn of life are vanity. Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”
So, in the end, Solomon is saying for us to pursue life, pursue God, pursue it to the fullness, but the truth is most of the time there will be difficulties. Are you young? Then delight in the health and strength of your body. There’s a whole world to be explored, and you have the strength to do it. So you’re telling me that we can actually enjoy and have meaning in this life? Spoiler alert. Yes!
Verse 10 then throws a word of warning that can destroy an enjoyed and meaningful life. The word vexation translates as offense, worry, and/or anxiety. Yet, listen to whom he’s talking to, because it sounds like he is talking to young people. So, while you are young, get rid of your junk now – or else it will haunt you the rest of your days. Your issues now will not leave you if you pretend it’s not there. It becomes the unwanted relative that is always showing up for the holidays. And the longer you wait or the older you get, the worse the offenses, or worries or anxiety gets. Think about a time when you first started dated and maybe the person abused you or cheated on you. If you don’t deal with that internally, then you’ll begin to think that all of your relationships will end up like that. Remove the vexations from your heart now.
So, how do we enjoy and have a meaningful life? Chapter 12:1 gives us the answer – Don’t forget Jesus and keep him at the center of your life. (My paraphrase) At this point most people believe that Solomon is in his older years of life, so he is urging young people to never forget God. Don’t wait until you get out of high school to get your life together. Don’t wait until you get out of college to give your life to Jesus or don’t wait until you’re married or have kids. Now! While you are in your youth keep Jesus at the center of your life. Not until life slows down, because by then you’ll be too old and your mind may not be good anymore. Consider Jesus now because you are not promised tomorrow. Keeping Christ at the center of your life and activities is how we as followers of Jesus can enjoy and have a meaningful life.
“If Christ is not first with you, Christ is nothing to you.” – Charles Spurgeon