‘Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.’ (v13) Ecclesiastes 12:13–14

Our time in this world is short-lived and our activities impermanent. Ecclesiastes’ message is first to reflect and then to set some good priorities. In our striving for success, we may waste an opportunity to deepen our appreciation of God, who alone is eternal. We can spend much time seeking right from wrong, yet only God knows where, and how, to draw that line. Our time is best spent seeking to live by God’s wisdom. This itself often contradicts worldly wisdom and requires us to live trusting in His unrealised promises (Heb. 11:13).

The foundation for a faith-filled life is to ‘fear God and keep his commandments’. Indeed, this is the prescription for fullness of life for all of humanity. But we appear wired to look into our future. Ecclesiastes teaches us that we can only navigate the present with any confidence. 

As we age, our thoughts may turn to legacy. Here too we are reminded that an uncertain future, subject to frequent, and abrupt, change (who predicted the pandemic and its impact?), means it is folly to plan for a future we shall never see.

Whilst life is uncertain, and often upsetting, Ecclesiastes reminds us of our frail mortality. We do well to heed this, itself a source for greater humility. We are then to pray, work and contemplate God’s Word and in this way faithfully follow Jesus’ teaching to nourish faith, hope and love in our own life and as a witness to others.

RELATED SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Job 7:1–10; Isa. 40:6–11; 1 Cor. 3:18–23; James 4:14–17.

AN ACTION TO TAKE: In what ways might fearing God and keeping His commandments encourage you in everyday life?

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, help me to grow content with living in the present. May I live by Your Word every day. Amen.’

Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.