S: Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:1,7-8, 12-14 Light is sweet; how pleasant to see a new day dawning. When people live to be very old, let them rejoice in every day of life. But let them also remember there will be many dark days. Everything still to come is meaningless. Young people, it’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do. So refuse to worry, and keep your body healthy. But remember that youth, with a whole life before you, is meaningless.
Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say, “Life is not pleasant anymore.”
For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it. “Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless.”
But, my child, let me give you some further advice: Be careful, for writing books is endless, and much study wears you out. That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.
O: Solomon showed such great promise. As a young king, God had offered him whatever he wanted, and he had chosen wisely: instead of asking for wealth and power, he asked for wisdom to be able to govern the country well. God commended him for that, and gave him wisdom and wealth and power. (1 Chronicles 1)
However, he let his wealth and power go to his head. While being wise in running the country, he wasn't so wise in running his own life: he ignored God's injunctions about kings not to multiply wives and for people to be faithful to God. So he married many wives, most of whom appeared not to be followers of God, and he followed them into idolatry. (1 Kings 11)
The book of Ecclesiastes is a chronicle of his attempts to find fulfillment in life without God. He had everything; he tried everything. He tried wine, women and song. He tried the satisfaction of a job well done. In the end, it was all meaningless. It goes through his changing thoughts as he thought through these things. That's why it is very dangerous to quote a verse from Ecclesiastes — it's as likely to be false as it is to be true, since Solomon went through many false thoughts as he thought through this matter.
Too bad for Solomon, in spite of his wisdom, he only realised this at the end of his life: there is no meaning in life if you just try to live for yourself! Only God gives ultimate meaning to one's life.
A: Let's not waste our lives and only realise this at the end of our lives. Let's live for Jesus while we are young, while we are middle-aged, and while we are old. Then we will hear the words of our Saviour, “Well done, good and faithful servant” welcoming us in the end. (Matthew 25:21)
“He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” — Jim Elliott, martyr.
The people in this song all had meaning in the lives. Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Peter Fleming, and Roger Youderian were killed by Huaorani warriors due to internal Huaorani politics during their attempts to reach them for the Gospel. Yet “the blood of the martyrs are the seed of the church” — and today that Huaorani tribe has been transformed from bloodthirsty murderers that were going to wipe themselves out by their bloody lifestyle into peaceful Christians who love God and love their fellow human beings. Eric Liddell gave his life to bring the Gospel to China, eventually dying in a Japanese prison camp during the second world war. Yet his legacy lives on in the lives of many Chinese Christians today.
Their lives were full of meaning — because of Christ.
P: Father, thank You that You give us meaning in life through Jesus Christ our Lord. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)