Over the hill. It is a phrase that has appeared on many birthday cards reminding the recipient that their life is now headed for decline. The most meaningful days are past. Only doom and gloom await. Our culture loves to extol the virtues of youth. And we can also tend to marginalize the elderly. Into this context the Preacher of Ecclesiastes gives us some direct remarks that speak to these issues.
In Ecclesiastes 11 the author tells those who are fortunate to live many years to rejoice in all of their days. The Bible calls those who are advanced in years blessed. Old age is not something to be ashamed of nor are the elderly those who need to be cast aside. Long life is a blessing from God that is to be celebrated.
And then in the following verse the Preacher notes that those who are young must also rejoice in their youth. The author reminds us that youth is something to be celebrated as well. It too is a gift from God.
But then all of us are called to be mindful of an important truth. Our age is not as important as what we do with the life we are given. The fruitfulness of the years we live on this earth are not determined by the sheer number we attain. The Preacher repeatedly warns us to give thought to how we live our life. We are called to be mindful of our Creator and to realize that we will give account for our actions on this earth.
Therefore, these passages encourage us to make the most of every opportunity we are given. To live with a mindset that acknowledges God as God. To live for His glory. To understand and know that obedience to God will bring us the greatest joy and satisfaction in life.
We do all of this with the understanding that death approaches for each of us. And with every change of the calendar it seems to approach at a faster rate. And so, the Preacher concludes his wisdom with the reminder that death comes for all. In light of this we must ask ourselves, “how will we live?” Determine where you want to be and work backwards to where you are now. What will it take for you to get to the end of your life and declare with the Apostle Paul “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.” The journey to that destination begins with what you do with your life starting now.