Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say, “Life is not pleasant anymore.” Remember him before the light of the sun, moon, and stars is dim to your old eyes, and rain clouds continually darken your sky. Remember him before your legs—the guards of your house—start to tremble; and before your shoulders—the strong men—stoop. Remember him before your teeth—your few remaining servants—stop grinding; and before your eyes—the women looking through the windows—see dimly. . . .
Remember him before you become fearful of falling and worry about danger in the streets; before your hair turns white like an almond tree in bloom, and you drag along without energy like a dying grasshopper, and the caperberry no longer inspires sexual desire. Remember him before you near the grave, your everlasting home, when the mourners will weep at your funeral.
Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young, before the silver cord of life snaps and the golden bowl is broken. Don’t wait until the water jar is smashed at the spring and the pulley is broken at the well. For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.
A life without God can produce a bitter, lonely, and hopeless old age. A life centered around God is fulfilling; When “Life is not pleasant anymore” (Ecclesiastes 12:1)—when disabilities, sickness, and handicaps cause barriers to enjoying life—a life centered upon God can be satisfying because of the hope of eternal life. Being young is exciting. But the excitement of youth can become a barrier to closeness with God if it makes young people focus on passing pleasures instead of eternal values.
Solomon is no dreary pessimist in this passage, however. He encourages us to rejoice in every day but to remember that eternity is far longer than a person’s life span. Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.” The wise person does not just think about the moment and its impact; he or she takes the long-range view toward eternity.
Approach your decisions from God’s perspective—consider their impact ten years from now and into eternity. Live with the attitude that although our lives are short, we will live with God forever.