Summary: You are not the future of the church. You are the present! Don’t wait until you’re adults to make a difference for the Kingdom of God. Do it now!
Ecclesiastes is a fun book. Whenever I read it I can’t help but think of a little old man sitting in his rocking chair, lecturing his grandkids on the front porch of the rest home! Just listen to verse 2 -- “‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.’” I can just hear him add, “Now get off my lawn!”
Most people agree that the teacher mentioned in this book is actually King Solomon. Solomon was born out of sin -- his father was King David, and his mother was Bathsheba, the woman with whom David had an affair. Despite this, God blessed Solomon and made him King after David died. One night, after offering 1000 sacrifices, the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and told him he could have anything he wanted.
Now, if God Himself came to you and told you that you could have anything you wanted, what would you wish for? Money? Long life? Would you wish that the people you don’t like, the people who mistreat you, would have some sort of punishment?
I don’t know what I would do, but Solomon wished for wisdom and discernment. Because of this, Solomon is still known as the wisest man who ever lived. So if the wisest man who ever lived says that everything is meaningless, we might should listen, right?
It’s interesting to note that while Solomon was wise, he still sinned greatly. Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. WHAT? WOW! Deuteronomy says that the king shall not “multiply wives”. If that sin wasn’t bad enough, he allowed their influence to lead him into idolatry. He got to the point where he was more concerned with acquiring more wealth and power than seeking the face of God.
And this is the man who built the first permanent Temple! It’s even called “Solomon’s Temple”!
When Solomon grew old, though, he began to realize what was really important. He became a kind of philosopher, writing books explaining his views. One of these books is Ecclesiastes.
There is a specific set of scripture that I want to share with you tonight, though. Turn to chapter 11, verses 9-10.
9You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.
10So then, banish anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body, for youth and vigor are meaningless.
This verse is saying that being young is a blessing, it’s a joyful time in your life! Have fun! It’s saying to follow the ways of your heart. Well, if your heart seeks God, you will follow God. But don’t forget that God sees what you do today -- if your heart seeks the things of this world, then you will also follow the things of this world.
Verse 10 is a little different, though. It says not to worry! Don’t spend your life worrying that your youth will set you apart. Youth is meaningless! Age is meaningless! Strength is meaningless!
Really? Yep. “Everything is meaningless”. Solomon makes it clear in his book that the only thing that really matters is God, your relationship to God, your pursuit of God. Everything else -- age, wealth, popularity -- doesn’t matter.
This isn’t the only place in the Bible where we’re told that youth doesn’t matter. Turn to 1 Timothy 4:12. 12Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
Both of these verses have something in common: they are calling you out! Yes, you personally. Young people!
1 and 2 Timothy are letters written by Paul to Timothy. Timothy was a great deal younger than Paul, and saw Paul as a mentor or teacher in the ways of Christ. In his letters, Paul is encouraging Timothy in his ministry -- Timothy took over the leadership of the church in Ephesus from Paul. In this verse, Paul is telling Timothy not to let his age stop him -- be an example for everyone!
Youth is meaningless -- Don’t let your youth be an excuse! Do what the Lord has called you to do now, don’t wait. 1 Timothy says to set an example “for the believers” -- not just for people younger than you! BE the example, show them what a heart truly on fire for God looks like.
Set an example in speech! That’s more than just not cussing. If someone talks to you, don’t just give them one-word answers or grunts. Carry on a conversation! Be polite and respectful. If they didn’t want to talk to you, they wouldn’t have started the conversation. This goes for your friends, your family, even your teachers! If they’re getting on to you for something, don’t talk back. Be respectful and let them see what makes you different than everyone else.