Rare is the person surveying any significant period of his past life who can say honestly, “I have no regrets.” The wisdom that often comes with age and experience fosters the acute memory of opportunities to serve that were missed, the regret for sins committed, the time wasted, the eternal blessings forever lost. Not one of us can go back even one moment and recapture an escaped opportunity or undo some sin: there are no do-overs in this life. It is imperative for God’s glory, the welfare of others, and for our blessing that we heed God’s command concerning victory: “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth” (Eccl. 12:1a).
A realistic command. Following this command, Solomon explains that it is important to serve in youth “before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, ‘I have no delight in them’” (v. 1b). Old age is quickly upon us. Our strength falters; our memories fail. We lack the capacity to serve which we had in the full bloom of our youth. Serve now because various levels of incapacity quickly encroach. Serve now because there is no guarantee of tomorrow. Serve now because an opportunity once lost never returns. God does not deal in fables and fairy tales. The opportunities He affords are genuine but fleetingly temporal. We have no promise of life beyond this moment, or of any further opportunity to serve the Lord. The foolish person says, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin,” echoes the writer of Hebrews (3:13). Life seems long to the young, but God warns them of its extreme brevity. “Get going now,” He seems to say, “because your life will evaporate away before you know it.”
A rigorous command. The command to remember our Creator requires more of us than merely calling something to mind or thinking about God. It is a demand that we consider the obligation we owe to the One who created us, gave us life, and, furthermore, redeemed us from sin, and then to respond appropriately with our time, energy, and stuff. When the thief on the cross turned to the Lord and prayed, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” (Lk. 23:42), he was asking for more than that the Lord would exercise His memory and recall those few hours they spent dying together. He wanted the Lord to do a monumental work, to save him. Similarly, the command to remember the Lord is a call to do a great work, to give our lives to the One Who gave His life for our salvation. It is a reminder that the only opportunity that we will have in all of time and eternity to bless the Lord in a manner that costs us something is right now. There will not be the slightest burden attached to our service for the Lord in eternity, only unmitigated blessing. This command is a call to labor and to sacrifice self now.
A rich command. Though it is not Solomon’s purpose in this place to explain the blessings attendant upon a life that begins to serve the Lord from youth, the entire scope of Scripture provides ample perspective. For starters, He is the kind of God who swears that He will “open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows” (Mal. 3:10). He is the kind of God who promises blessings “pressed down, shaken together, and running over” (Lk. 6:38). Though the command may be rigorous and require much from us, we may rest assured that what God has in store for those who in remembering Him give Him their lives in service will be richly blessed. And to those beyond youth, though we cannot recall even one day, we may from this moment remember our Lord and return to Him our loving service.
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