Summary: Solomon leaves us with three substantial directives that are life changers.
The Take Home
1. A new pastor asked his board to evaluate his first sermon. The pastor did not even have an introduction, but dove right into the text. He preached on and on and on.
At their meeting, the pastor asked the chairman to evaluate his sermon.
“I know,” said the pastor, “that I should have had an introduction, but I lost the note card and couldn’t remember what the introduction was.”
The chairman replied, “My criticism of your sermon was not that it needed an introduction; it needed a conclusion!”
2. Someone has defined a conclusion as, “A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.”
3. The conclusion of Ecclesiastes is quite meaty. I call it, “the take home.”
Main Idea: Solomon leaves us with three substantial directives that are life changers.
I. Diligently DIVERSIFY Life To Compensate for the Future’s Uncertainty (1-8).
• One blogger writes, “Today, I tripped and fell on my open dishwasher, right onto a carving knife. I'm mostly ok…”
A. Spread out your RISKS (1-2, 6).
1. We have a saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Schemes.
2. Part of how we do this is by building many relationships and helping people in some way along the way.
3. What does vs. 1 mean? Famed Jewish commentator, Rashi, interprets: “Send forth your bread upon the surface of the water: Do goodness and kindness to a person about whom your heart tells you that you will never see him again, many days you will find it: Days will yet come, and you will like a person who casts his food upon the surface of the water…for after receive your recompense.”
4. What goes around comes around.
5. Verses 2 and 6 are somewhat more obvious: Consider the statistics!
B. The INEVITABLE is beyond your control; embrace it (3, 5). If you can!
• Christensons: moved up to Minnesota, learned to embrace cold and snow.
• Some think that refusing to accept a new reality will stop that new reality.
C. Learn the secret for getting things DONE (4).
• Marylu and I memorized this verse, and it helped us.
• The secret is simply “do it now.” Don’t wait for the ideal time.
• Do what you dislike doing — or what can’t get done — first…
D. Don’t put off ENJOYING and appreciating the beautiful aspects of life (7-8).
• We all intend to enjoy some of the finer things — art, music, nature…
• A balanced life is for the now, not for the year later…
II. Enjoy Your Younger Years, But Get to KNOW God, Too (11:9-12:8).
• Some Christians and youth leaders push their youth to grow up too fast; some social groups inhibit young adults from growing up.
• I Corinthians 13:11, “ When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”
• The teen years are transitional. Teens enter aspects of the adult world, but their minds may not be prepared for the challenges that await them.
A. Enjoy youthful PLEASURES, but be connected to a godly conscience (11:9-10).
1. Try different things while you are young; pursue different interests.
2. One blogger writes, Today, I was practicing for a choir concert that I have next week. My mom walked into my room and listened to me for a little while. After I finished the last song, she smiled, patted me on the head and said, "It's okay honey, I can't sing either."
• Everything we do does not have to have a spiritual justification. There is a real sense in which simply being the kind of person God created you to be glorifies Him.
1) We are to enjoy our youth, but with an awareness of accountability to God
2) Our younger years are meant to be more carefree than our latter years.
3) In retrospect, those years fly by
B. The sooner you get to know God, the BETTER (12:1a).
C. OLD age creeps up to us, often gradually, and life changes (12:1b-8).
• This depressing but poetic picture of old age tells it like it is.
• Blessed to live in a time when a lot of the effects of aging can be reduced.
III. The Purpose of Life Reduces Down to Something Quite SIMPLE (9-14).
A. Wisdom is a double-edged SWORD (9-11).
3. Given by one Shepherd
B. When It Comes to A Philosophy of Life, Sometimes LESS is More (12).
C. What should be the summary FOCUS of life (13-14)?
1. FEAR God.
• At salvation, we fear His judgment and wrath
• We fear displeasing God,
• We fear our accountability to God, and