Summary: A sermon on Ecclesiastes 11:9- 12:7 on the importance of reaching youth and young adults
Youth would be an ideal state if it came a little later in life.
From what I know Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes. Solomon was a man that in his childhood, in his youth, he loved the Lord. However, in Solomon’s time of manhood he forsook the Lord and followed his wives to other gods. Here in the book of Ecclesiastes he is talking about his life before he dies. In some ways he is like a grumpy old man and he gives us many warnings on how not to live life. Nay saying, saying how not to live life is important especially in our modern, materialistic, me-centered American culture. No! Wealth will not make us happy! No! The loss of our job is not the worst thing that could happen! There are worse! No! Downsizing or even losing our home does not mean failure and ruin! This could be a blessing! No! A rewarding career is not the guarantee of fulfillment. No! We can’t have it all – career, travel, 3 children, big house, hot car, hot body, freedom and friends, and independence! We all must make choices. No! All the promises of the world are false: success, sex, love, family, education, career, wealth and wisdom. None of them will give our souls joy. Only God can do that. And all this nay-saying from a man who had it all...Solomon!
Solomon’s (Preacher is meaning of Ecclesiastes) basic theme about his search for meaning in life is all vanity, meaningless. A life lived apart from God is a wasted lie.
In chapters 11 and 12, the Preacher is beginning to conclude his thoughts and he addresses much in the last section to young adults. He talks to the young because he knows that he has the greatest chance of reaching them. He knows that if things are to change it will be through the youth. He wants to talk to the young because he doesn’t want them wasting their years running after things that really do not satisfy.
Thesis: Advice for the young
Rejoice in your youth (11:9)
God wants the young to have a good time.
“Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth.” That is, live life to the full while young. Do not be afraid of the natural exuberance of youth. Do not let anyone discourage from enjoying the abundance of physical vitality that is there. Use it! Take full advantage of the capacity for imagination and adventure. This is what the Bible says to me? Too many young people seem to feel the Bible tells them to fold their hands, curtail their impulses and act like old people, but it does not. It recognizes the love of romanticism in youth and it urges them to take full advantage of it while they can.
“Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see” Take life as it comes. Do not feel fretful and envious over the opportunities others have, but lay hold and use the opportunities that come to us in our youth.
“Know that for all these things God will bring you to judgment” Please do not misread that. That is uttered in the same spirit of encouragement to discover all that life has as the first two phrases. It is not meant as a threat. God is not saying, "All right, go ahead and enjoy yourself, but just wait, I'll get you in the end!" No, he is saying, "Remember, there is one more aspect of life that is very important, yet one more thing is necessary. Remember that as you do these other things, it is possible for you to go wrong. You need more than yourself. Life is too big for you to handle on your own. At the end, each of us in the human family must give an account of ourselves, and the certainty of that points up the need for a adequate guide right now." Who is that guide? Learn more in a little while.
Youth have the energy to enjoy life to its fullest. As long as that energy is directed in the right channels, youth is to be a time of great enjoyment!
Banish anxiety and cast off troubles (11:10)
Anxiety deprives us of the joy that we should have in our youth
“Banish anxiety, Cast off the troubles of the body.” These dumb moves contribute to anxiety:
1. “My son, if sinners entice you, do not give in to them.” Proverbs 1:10, NIV. Do not spend a lot of time with the wrong friends, people who encourage wrongdoing, who pressure the young to do things they are uncomfortable doing
2. “For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword.” Proverbs 5:3, 4, NIV. Many things seem fun but it is for a short season. Do not give into all kinds of sinful fun.