Youth Up In Smoke

AUTHOR: Steve Harvey

Read:  

1 Kings 10:1-29. King Solomon likely wrote portions of Ecclesiastes himself or his life was the inspiration for the author. Continue learning more about Solomon’s life as you read about Solomon sharing his wisdom with the Queen of Sheba, and the wealth he amassed during his reign.

Focus:

During these 7 weeks, we will focus on the discipline of fasting. Each week we will dig deeper into this discipline. Take the next 5 minutes to read a blog post that connects the discipline of fasting to Sunday’s sermon topic.

 

Youth Up In Smoke

 

There is no denying the reality of aging and the inevitability of death (Ecclesiastes 11:9-12:8). Most of us don’t like to hear this, but the real question is what will it take for you to welcome returning to the dust of the earth that you came from? When we discover the answer to this question we can let it shape how we live our life and allow it to prepare us for our inevitable departure.

 

This is the heart of the message the Preacher in Ecclesiastes is trying to get across. We are called to be stewards of the life God has entrusted to us. Youth is something God intends for us to enjoy and cherish, and it is foolishness to be blind to the wonders and pleasures of God’s creation at any age.  

 

We are often warned that God’s judgment will result when we pursue these pleasures in unwise or destructive ways, but I believe we can just as easily fall into God’s judgment when we don’t pursue the pleasures He intended for us. Youth is the time when we are most filled with vigor and opportunity to pursue pleasure.  

 

The message is not to deny these opportunities, but to steward them as gifts of God that will one day be gone. We can go on a summer road trip with our friends to Las Vegas, gamble away our money, get drunk and take in some strip clubs, go hiking and enjoy the natural wonder of our national parks, or we can help restore homes in the inner city for low income families.  

 

Eventually the “smoke” of youth will erase our opportunity to pursue these types of choices. In our youth we make choices how we steward our youth, when we are old, what remains is how those choices will be judged.

 

It comes down to two things. The first is gratitude, especially in the small and everyday things of life. This will point us in the right direction and prepare us for a satisfying finish of our life at any age and in whatever physical or mental condition we may find ourselves.  

 

Choosing to live our life to bless others is the second ingredient that will deeply shape our life and prepare us for closing out our life. It is also the surest way to avoid idleness, selfishness and isolation.

 

We are going to face consequences for the choices we have made. What do we say to a person who has enjoyed life, but has made no financial, health, or relational accommodations for their later years, yet expects to retire and enjoy the same lifestyle they have been accustomed to? None of us will be unscathed by our own poor choices.

 

Maybe this is why Ecclesiastes 12:1 says to “remember your creator in the days of your youth,” so we can avoid a life filled with regret from choices and decisions we’ve made.   

 

Like it or not, we are laying up the food that we must one day feed on in our closing years. Hopefully, we are accumulating a thankful heart and loving relationships that will be the source of contentment and joy in our declining years. 

 

And finally, a New Testament footnote. The author of the book Ecclesiastes did not have the perspective of Christ’s life, death and resurrection. Only Christ can make a life truly beautiful.  The encouragement is that in Christ, whether we are young or old, whether have made good choices or poor ones, we can find a peaceful and blessed ending to our life when we are yoked to Christ.

Pray:

Pray that God would give you wisdom to think and act rightly about aging. Spend 2 minutes in listening silence and write down anything that comes to mind.

 

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Week 6 of 7 Fasting

1 Comment

  1. Justin@leawood

    Glad to hear from
    Steve, who has a lot of XP with seniors as leader of 50 and better ministries at Leawood. I’m sure Steve has seen the things he talks about and I appreciate his challenge. Regarding todays Scripture, may the Lord give us such wisdom for our work today.

    Reply

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