My cars may not be the best, but they are my cars and phooey on you-ee if you don’t think they are good enough. My life may be imperfect, I may have some personality quirks and oddities, but it’s my life, I love the Lord Jesus Christ, I make the best decisions I can within the limits of what the Lord gives me control, and phooey on you-ee if you don’t think it’s good enough. I intend to live life to the full!
Two parts today: Ecc. 9:1-3 Life is Short. Ecc. 9: 4-12 make the most of it.
The first part of the equation is irrefutable (READ Ecc. 9:1-3). Life is short, life is imperfect, it might not be the perfect car, life might not be as long as you like, as healthy as you like, as many advantageous as you’d like. Solomon proves life is short by observing that we all die! The older you get, the fast life seems to speed along. It’s easy to be discouraged about life, dwelling on limitations. Solomon is speaking from the perspective of how we think by nature, life without God. Ecc. 9:3 even uses the phrase the world is mad. We are all insane. Ain’t that the truth. The key is to go to the second part of the equation? life is short, so make the most of it.
What is the style of your life? A year or two ago I overheard a man in this church explain that when he was younger he and his wife would go on a road trip to visit family in the region, zoom zoom zoom to get to the destination, in such a great hurry. Now that they are retired they enjoy having their kids drive them on the road trips, and now, they stop along the way to see the sights. The man concluded, why was I in such a hurry. Enjoying the trip is such a better way! Life is short, that is irrefutable, we are all going to the same destination, so enjoy the journey, make the most of it….
Why are we in such a hurry? A woman and her husband interrupted their vacation to go to the dentist. "I want a tooth pulled, and I don't want Novocain because I'm in a big hurry," the wife said. "Just extract the tooth as quickly as possible, and we'll be on our way." The dentist was quite impressed. "You're certainly a courageous woman," he said. "Which tooth is it?" The woman turned to her husband, "Show him your tooth, dear."
Ecc. 9:4 has a transition word making all the difference to go on to living the fullness of life. READ, underline HOPE. Hope means you implicitly believe there will be a better future. Looking forward to the better future brings an implicit joy to the world TODAY.
I love the phrase to describe this amazing life of hope: “A live dog is better off than a dead lion” ~ a lion is rarer than a dog, considered nobler than a dog… Through hope, make the most of your life, even if you are more like a common dog than a noble lion.
I had a preaching class. the professor gave some wise advice: “once in a while something is going to happen that will take away preparation time for your sermon. Sunday morning will roll around, and you have no choice but to preach the sermon.” Prof. Nason said, “ When you know you have a dog on your hands, you know the sermon is not everything you’d like it to be, walk that dog proudly.”
Walk that dog proudly. If I compare myself to some of the great pastors from the past, I sometimes feel in comparison like a skunk, but I am alive and so I walk proudly. An old beat up van that runs in my garage is better than a Cadillac that isn’t in your garage! Walk proudly, your life may be imperfect, you may have aches and pains, you may be all rusty, torn upholstery, maybe you belch a bit too much… walk proudly. Quit being embarrassed by your parents, wishing your kids were more accomplished, wishing you had more talent, more money, more opportunities. Walk with confidence, this is what hope does for us… a better future translating into confidence and joy today.
Life is short… make the most of it… It’s so easy to stop with Ecc. 9:1-3 and endure… I had a funeral once, I could not help but wonder if the person really lived. When I meet with a family for a funeral, I try to get a sense of the persons character, what makes their heart tick. What gets them excited. What makes them laugh. What makes them cry. As I asked questions of the family in order to personalize the service, they could not come up with anything of substance… ~ any activities, I asked? no. Friends? Not really. Social clubs. No. Sense of humor? Not really. I asked if he ever came for Christmas. YES. I thought I was getting somewhere, families always enjoy being together at holdidays. And what would he be doing if he were at your house at Christmas.? Their eyes lit up… “watching tv.”/// I was desperate: “And what shows did he watch?” “Gunsmoke Reruns.” OK, I thought, that gives me three seconds in a tribute. Finally one of the nieces thought of something, she got so exited, “I used to call him stud muffin and he’d call me Sex Kitten.” … Don’t endure, but through hope, embrace life… live your life in such a way that Gunsmoke reruns aren’t the highlight!
Making the most of life gives you time to prepare for eternity (READ Ecc. 9:5a)
Solomon is talking from an earthly perspective. I don’t believe he’s intending to teach us about what happens when we die. He’s simply saying that while you are alive you know death is coming, so you have an opportunity to prepare...
Life is a limited-time gift from God. The expiration date is unknown to us but is known to God. Ps. 139: “All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” Sure would be nice to have a peak at that book wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t we like to know exactly how many days each of us gets? Not really…
One person’s story: When I was working at a grocery store…, I had many chances to share my faith with the high school guys I worked with. They would often tease me about my faith, but they would come around individually and ask some really good questions. One time their high school had Athletes in Action share and they heard the gospel. So one of the guys came to me a few days later and said “Bob, I’ve got it all figured out. I’m going to live my life the way I want and do everything I want and then just before I die I’ll accept Jesus as my Savior. Then I’ll go to heaven.” ‘That’s great, but what happens if you die suddenly in a car accident and you don’t have the chance to accept Jesus, then what? “Oh shoot,” he said, “I never thought of that.” We know life will come to an end, we do not know when. Jesus did not promise long life, he offers a full life. “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.” The living have hope because they have time to repent of their sins, ask for forgiveness and accept God’s gift of salvation that He offers freely to us through Christ.
Making the most of life gives you opportunity to prepare for eternity, and also give more opportunities to be part of God’s plan today. READ Ecc. 9:6, focus on 6b. The dead can no longer be a part of God’s daily life on this earth, however, while we are alive, you have an opportunity. You still have time to repent and change and live for Him and improve the story of your life. Sally and I used to live in San Francisco. The Church was only about 15 people when we went there. I had no idea what I was doing. I was asked to go for a year, which turned into about 2 ½ years. We had no children in those S.F. days. Sally and I knew our days were likely limited in S.F. We knew we may never be back once we left. So while we had the opportunity, we went to every tourist destination… Live every day as if it is your last…
Yearn for eternity and live for him everyday, taking advantage of the opportunity to be his hands and feet! Solomon has more Good News: God Says Enjoy Life! (9:7-10). Don’t be in such a hurry! Stop and see the tourist sights along the highway. Rather than commenting on each of these verse, I’d like to let The MESSAGE of Ecc. 9:7-10, be the commentary. You can’t miss the enthusiasm and enjoyment of life:
Seize life! Eat bread with gusto,
Oh yes—God takes pleasure in your pleasure!
Dress festively every morning.
Relish life with the spouse you love
Each and every day of your precarious life.
Each day is God’s gift. It’s all you get in exchange
For the hard work of staying alive.
Make the most of each one!
Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily!
This is your last and only chance at it,
For there’s neither work to do nor thoughts to think
In the company of the dead, where you’re most certainly headed.
The bad news is we will all die, or is it such bad news? Have you known somebody with a chronic illnesses that the doctor’s cannot diagnose? I’ve heard more than one person say, “even if it’s bad news, I want to know.” Why do they want to kow? so they can make the most of whatever time they have, fight it, make the transition. Ecclesiastes is giving us the conclusion to the matter: we will all die. Now that we know, we must respond: endure or enjoy? God says “enjoy life!
The final verses of today’s scripture, Ecc. 9:11-12, are a simple reminder that God is in complete control: Live by God’s strength and not your own ~ READ Ecc. 9:11. God’s thoughts and His ways are higher than ours. God wants us to live life to the full, but that doesn’t mean we have control. Don’t trust in your own strength, your own might, but fully rely on God (FROG). God enjoys using the foolish and the insufficient and the weak from the world’s perspective, to bring Him glory on earth. We may have a lot going for us – health, comforts and earthly possessions, but none of these are guarantees that won’t happen or our health will take a turn for the worse.
And the last verse, a warning to be prepared for problems (READ Ecc. 9:12). Suffering is all part of the deal. Bad things happen. Time on earth is marred by sin. If we know problems will come, we’ll be more prepared to trust God to see us through them. Don’t let the bad news of life or the difficulties of life rob you of enjoying life.
A number of prominent Christian leaders were asked what they wanted people to remember about them when they were gone. Most of them wanted to be remembered for how they impacted God’s kingdom. Max Lucado’s answer reflects the fullness of life that Solomon gives us in Ecclesiastes: “ I hope it will be said that I showed the splendour of God. That I showed He is worthy of worship. That’s what matters. Of course, I think I would feel like a failure if my children didn’t remember me as a good father, too. That and trying to break 90 on the golf course.”
Life is short. You can’t argue. What’s our response? Are we enduring life or are we enjoying life? The Lord says to live life to the full. To live life to the full means you have an opportunity to prepare for eternity. Are you grounded in your faith in God? To live life to the full means everyday you have one more opportunity to be a part of God’s plan. Living life to the full means to enjoy your life. Our strength is not enough to live a full life, we still need God, evil is still a part of this world, but we cannot let that stop us from embracing God and fully enjoying the opportunity at life he has given us! Life is short, so make the most of it! Amen.