Ecclesiastes 11 (click here)
Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment. (Ecclesiastes 11:9)
All of life is SEEMINGLY vanity…but this is only how things seem as long as our gaze falls only on that which is “under the sun” and God is left completely out of the equation. However, when we know God and know that he will bring all things into judgment…all of a sudden EVERY act become eternally meaningful.
How should we think of this “judgment of God”? Should this frighten us so that we live our lives like slaves under a relentless task master…seeking to serve his every whim. Solomon seems to suggest something very different than that scenario.
He begins with the word “rejoice!” The fact that God is judge should bring us to proper enjoyment of all things. We know that God created all things good (including us) and invited mankind into eternal enjoyment of him. All of creation was to be enjoyed as a gift that ultimately pointed us back to the giver.
Solomon says that this is the kind of joy we seek. Not a joy in the mere gifts we find under the sun with no reference to God, but a joy that through these gifts points us to God! Enjoy all these things, but in such a way that you know God brings all things into judgment! Enjoy them in such a way that leads you back to God. That is the purpose for which all things were created and when enjoyed that way “God as judge” is not bad news…it is good news, for we will be judged as faithful ones who enjoyed him and spread the joy of him to the world.
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.