HOW to find REAL JOY and MEANING in LIFE? "Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes; but know that for all these God will bring you into judgment. Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come and the years draw near when you say, "I have no pleasure in them." (Eccl 11:9; 12:1)
As King Solomon brings the book of Ecclesiastes to a conclusion, he turns his attention to the young people in his kingdom and gives them some timeless advice of how they can find real joy and meaning in life. The philosophy of many young people these days - “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die” - is actually a conflation of two biblical sayings: "…a man has nothing better under the sun than to eat, drink, and be merry…" (Eccl 8:15) and "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!" (Isaiah 22:13). This is a wrong approach to life, and will surely end in utter failure.
In order to find real joy and meaning in life, there are three things that we should do even when we are young:
- We must recognize that we are ultimately accountable to God alone (11:9). We can go in our own ways and do whatever we want with our life, but we should be aware that we will one stand before God who will judge us for what we have done in our life. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." (2 Cor 5:10)
- Early on in life we should recognize the existence and claims of our Creator God (12:1). In a brilliant metaphor describing the aging process (12:2–7), Solomon suggests that we should not wait until our old age before turning to the Lord and serving Him. We should do so when we are young so that we can live our entire life with significance.
- We should revere God and obey His commandments (12:13). All the teachings in the book of Ecclesiastes lead to this conclusion (12:9–10). The bottom line is to fear God by revering Him and displaying that by keeping His commandments, for a day is coming when He will judge everyone and call them to account for all their works (12:14).