Summary: Solomon’s advice on living the abundant life.
SERIES: BE SATISFIED
“HOW TO LIVE BEFORE YOU DIE”
(adapted from a message by Dave Stone)
Remember that Solomon is towards the end of his life as writes the words in this book of Ecclesiastes. He has sought fulfillment in pleasure, in accomplishments, in good food, and fun. Now he looks back over his life and offers us his observations and advice.
You can learn a lot about a person from what they say as they come to the end of this life and reflect on it. You get some insights. For instance I understand that the final words of actress Joan Crawford, after her maid started to pray for her, were these: “Don’t you dare ask God to help me.”
Andrew Jackson’s final word’s were, “Oh, do not cry—be good children and we will all meet in heaven.”
The great artist Leonardo D’ Vinci spoke these final words, “I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.”
Multi millionaire Jay Gould’s final words were, “I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth.”
General John Sedwick, a Union Commander in the Civil War was lined up ready for battle. His troops were telling him they were too close to the enemy and General Sedwick’s final words were, “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this dist. . . .”
Eccl. 9:1-12 – 1 So I reflected on all this and concluded that the righteous and the wise and what they do are in God’s hands, but no man knows whether love or hate awaits him. 2 All share a common destiny—the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad, the clean and the unclean, those who offer sacrifices and those who do not. As it is with the good man, so with the sinner; as it is with those who take oaths, so with those who are afraid to take them. 3 This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of men, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead. 4 Anyone who is among the living has hope —even a live dog is better off than a dead lion! 5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Their love, their hate never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun. 7 Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do. 8Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil. 9 Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun— all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. 11 I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. 12 Moreover, no man knows when his hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so men are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.
Having explored life and its meaninglessness, Solomon draws some important conclusions. He gives us four important life lessons.
THIS IS YOUR ONE AND ONLY LIFE: ENJOY IT
Your time on this earth, whether long or short, should be something that you enjoy. Regardless of your circumstances it is possible to have that joy IF you remember what we learned several weeks ago—that only with God can you find true happiness.
Eccl. 9:7-8 tells us: Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do.
Understand that God is not some cosmic kill-joy who is continually angry with us and wants to rid the earth of anything enjoyable. A lot of us think of God as a stern judgmental grandfather figure who at best just tolerates laughter and is happy when we all feel guilty and somber. God created this world with textures and colors and tastes and sensations and emotions for us to enjoy.
Solomon says, “Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil.” White garments were worn to joyous occasions. Anointing oil was used for special events. Solomon is encouraging us to make every occasion a special occasion. Bring out the good china – don’t just save it for company. Don’t let your life be overburdened with the mundane and boring. Live life with some zest.