FAMOUS LAST WORDS
Mighty God, I come to You as Lord, I acknowledge You as Son of God, and in Your strength I seek to live my life.
Read ECCLESIASTES 12:1–14
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“The Teacher exhorts us to fear God, to have faith in his existence, to experience his grace, to stand in awe of his person, and to resolve to obey him. This is the secret of life” (Ray C. Stedman, 1917–1992).
“I told you I was ill” is perhaps the best sentence ever requested on a gravestone. Last words matter. When you know you don’t have long left, you want to say what really is important. So the Teacher comes to the end of his sermon. What will he tell us as, hungry for the final word on wisdom, we prepare to take our leave of him? He will say just this: remember God—in your youth (1–3), while you still can (4), while you have the strength and independence (5), while you are alive (6). Remember your Maker. Know who God is. Honor him. Don’t wait for your deathbed to do business with God.
This, then, is the beginning of wisdom: to know God. Wisdom is not cold and objective, it is relational. As John will later tell us, the wisdom by which the world was made (Prov. 8:1,22–31) has a name, and it is Jesus (John 1:1–5). Jesus is the wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24), and in Jesus it is possible for God’s wisdom—his very nature—to flow through you.
This, Paul tells us in Ephesians 3:10, is God’s open secret, his plan from the very beginning. God has always wanted his wisdom to shine through people. The Teacher was one of those, along the way, who has caught a glimpse of this. He saw something of God’s wisdom; he understood God’s longing to see that wisdom forming and transforming our lives. Only in Jesus does the ultimate expression become possible. Only in Jesus can we at last enter fully into the Teacher’s final admonition—to fear God and obey his commands (13). What human effort could never fully attain, Christ makes possible. God will shine through us, and the world will see his wisdom.
How has your faith affected the way you have lived your life? Affected your view of aging? Your view of death?
“Wisdom is the goal I seek; God, You are the treasure I set my sights on” (Gerard Kelly).
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