Read: Ecclesiastes: 11:7-10
The analogy of light is used a number of places in scriptures as a metaphor for life and truth and darkness as metaphor for death and deceit. The Preacher invokes light here to describe life. In the same manner in which people enjoy the bright of day, so one should enjoy the light of life. The Preacher seems vexed by the notion of aging and passing on. But at the same time, he calls youth vanity too. He is not saying that youth and life are vain in and of themselves, rather that they are fleeting – not lasting – thereby, in the Preacher’s judgment, vain. But in spite of this, the Preacher encourages one to delight in life and to follow one’s hearts desires all the while keeping them in check because God will call all one does into judgment. The Preacher is advising his readers to be mindful of the future because of judgment, but live in the moment too. One should not be consumed with preparing for the future not should one be oblivious to it either. Rather a healthy balance is necessary. One should plan to help mitigate uncertain calamity (Proverbs 6:6-15, Proverbs 16:1-4). But at the same time tells people to not “worry” about the future, that is “μεριμνησητε” which means to be anxious and consumed with planning of about the future (Matthew 6:25-34).
At the end of days, when all is called into judgment, God will hold ever person accountable for what one has done. More so that delighting in the pleasantries of the world, one will find the most satisfaction in God. The Preacher devoted a great deal of Ecclesiastes talking about how he pursued a great number of things, but at the end of his life, he was left wanting more than the world had to offer. On the other hand, the Psalms are replete about how God satisfies the soul (Psalm 63:5, Psalm 65:4, Psalm 103:5, Psalm 107:9, Psalm 145:16). Psalm 107 in particular talks about how God satisfies any number of things. Jesus when talking at the woman at the well in John 4 contrasts water drawn from a well – a laborious task – compared to water from a spring. He likens himself to the spring water, saying that whoever drinks his “living water” will never thirst again (John 14:14). Orienting one’s life around something that can satisfy eternally is infinitely better than orienting one’s life around something that leaves one wanting more.
When Jesus calls all things into judgment, there will be those who present a life after vain pursuits and there will be those who present a life focused on eternal pursuits. The one whose work was to dedicated to eternal matters will have lasting and more permanent results and will be blessed beyond measure by the one who can satisfy. If one wants to prepare for the one would do well to live a life in light of judgment and delighting in doing thing in the present that have eternal implications, namely pursuing God and obeying his commandments.
Lord, help me to focus matters in the present that have eternal value!