The words of wise men are like goads, and masters of these collections are like well-driven nails; they are given by one Shepherd.
One of the most common feelings among senior citizens is that of uselessness. They feel like their service is no longer required in the workplace or even in the church. But Ecclesiastes reminds us that if you are a senior citizen, you have something invaluable to offer your family and your church, and that is the wisdom you have gathered through your experience.
I love the story from Edward Dayton about the young man who was taking over as president of a bank. He went up to the old bank president who was retiring and said, “I wondered if you would care to share with me some of the insights you have gained, those things which you believe have been the key to your success?”
The old president said, “Young man, two words: good decisions!”
He replied, “Thank you very much, sir. But how does one make good decisions?”
“One word, young man: experience!”
The young man persisted, “But how does one get experience?”
“Two words, young man: bad decisions!”
I don’t know about you, but I have learned more from the bad decisions I have made than the good decisions. If you look back on your life with a lot of regret over the bad decisions you have made, the book of Ecclesiastes has this to say to you: you can redeem your life. You can make your life count by using those bad decisions to teach your children and grandchildren and others the importance of following God. There is great value in being able to say, “Here is where I went off track–you do not have to make the same mistake. Let me show you what I have learned.”
That is exactly what Solomon did in Ecclesiastes. In fact, near the end of his book, he had these strong words of counsel for young people: “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, ‘I have no delight in them’” (12:1). Whether you are a young adult who is making decisions that will shape your life and your eternity, or you are a senior adult who wants to redeem the years you have left, the book of Ecclesiastes has a message for you.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Searching for the Good Life” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.
Edward R. Dayton, “Tools for Time Management,” rev. ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984), 73.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.