This is Solomon’s advice on living the abundant life. Remember that Solomon is towards the end of his life as he writes Ecclesiastes. He has sought fulfilment in pleasure, in accomplishments, in good food and fun. Now he looks back over his life and offers us his observations and advice. What people say as they come to the end of life is important and worthy a reflection. The final words of Actress Joan Crawford were to her maid, “Don’t you dare ask God to help me.” Andrew Jackson’s “Oh, do not cry- be good children and we will all meet in heaven. The great artist Leonardo D’Vinci – “I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have”. Multi-Millionaire Jay Gould’s- “I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth”.
Ecclesiastes 9:1-12, is a reflection, Solomon draws some important conclusions. Let us learn four important life lessons:-
I. THIS IS YOUR ONE AND ONLY LIFE; ENJOY IT (9:7-8)
- Your time on this earth, whether long or short, should be something that you enjoy.
- Regardless of your circumstances, it is possible to have the joy of the Lord (Neh.8:10)
- Only with God can you find true happiness.
- Solomon says, “Always be clothed in white and always anoint your head with oil”
- White garments were worn on joyous occasions and anointing oil was used for special events.
- Make every event and occasion a special occasion.
- Bring out the best plates and spoons to eat and drink- Don’t just save it for the company.
- Don’t burden your life with mundane and boring things.
- 9- “Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love”
- Proverbs 18:22, 19:14- A good wife is a gift and blessing from God.
- Be faithful to your marriage vows, laugh together with your wife. Do things together, things that bring enjoyment.
II. LIFE IS SHORT; GIVE IT YOUR ALL (9:10)
- We do not know how long we have to live, give your absolute all to which you do.
- This is a Carpe Diem passage- Carpe Diem is a Latin phrase for “Seize the Day”.
- Don’t wait until you are “six feet” under to do things.
- See what Apostle Paul says in Cor.3:23-24.
- Life is short, give it your all.
III. THE RACE IS LONG; STICK WITH IT (9:11)
- The Christian life is a race (Heb.12:1-2) –it is a marathon.
- A marathon is a long obedience in the same direction.
- Understand that there will be obstacles on the way of life. Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we respond.
- The race is not to the swift, the battle is not for the strong, food does not come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favour to the learned, but time and chances happen to them all.
- Solomon is saying that there are two things that can upset all our plans- Time and chance.
- You can work harder than everyone else.
- You can be talented than everyone else.
- You can be smarter and stronger than everyone else, but time and chance play huge roles in life.
- Time is a factor- being in the right place at the right time brings success.
- So work hard, give your best and hope that time is right- “Seize the day”
- Chance is another factor- Chance refers to unexpected events that happen (Sports, Singing etc.)
- Sometimes you are on the receiving end of unexpected events.
- Life is mountain tops and valleys, but life is a marathon.
III. YOUR HOUR WILL COME; BE READY FOR IT (9:2-3)
- Solomon says- All share a common destiny, Death.
- 9:27- Man is destined to die once and after that judgement. Statistically speaking, one out of one people die.
- An American cemetery had a tombstone with this epitaph:
“Pause, stranger, when you pass me by,
As you are now, so once was I As I am now,
so you will be, so prepare for death and follow me”
- An unknown passerby had read these words and wrote below it- “To follow you I am not content until I know which way you went”
- Our problem is that we measure life by our birth date, but we should measure life by our death date.
- Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes 9:12 “No man knows how many years he has and when his hour will come!
- As fish are caught in a cruel net or birds are taken in a snare, so men trapped by evil times that fall unexpectantly upon them.
- The seasons of life are unpredictable.
- As to the duration of life, no person knows when their hour will come.
- Life and death are in God’s hands. Only God knows the future.
- However, we have freedom to decide where we go and what to do.
- Death is inevitable and life is unpredictable.
- Since death is inevitable and life is unpredictable, our safety is in walking by faith in His word- Leaning on His promises and everlasting arms.