“Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”” (Ecclesiastes 12:1).
Solomon is the author of Ecclesiastes, that great wisdom book. There are many things in the book of Ecclesiastes that are very much worth examining and applying to our lives. But as he winds down this great book and brings it to a close, one of the most important of them all is found here 12:1.
First Solomon tells his readers to remember. Memory is a wonderful gift from God, and without it, life would be impossible. We depend on our memory a lot more than we think. You depend on what you learned and remembered from English class to understand how to read what I have posted here. You depend on your memory to understand the meaning of words, because you were taught them at a certain age. I remember how to speak to you about these things because of my memory, both of how to speak (because I was taught) and how to interpret and present Scripture (because I was taught). I remember reading the book of Ecclesiastes a few months ago. I remember how important it is to observe passages of Scripture. Without my memory of these things, living, speaking, anything at all, would be impossible.
God has (by His common grace) given mankind the wonderful ability to remember. Sometimes memory is awakened by nostalgia, or a picture book that we look at. But usually our memory is working subconsciously—without us really knowing. Other times, again, it takes effort to memorize. Solomon here tells his readers to remember—this is an action, and a command.
Who to Remember
Solomon doesn’t just tell them to remember how to live or how to think or how to work, but to remember the Creator. If memory of earthly things are literally enabling us to live life as we know it, how much more should memory of God be of greater worth to us?
There’s actually quite a few passages of Scripture that command us to remember God. “You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day” (Deuteronomy 8:18). In Nehemiah when the Jews were getting prepared to fight a great battle, “And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes” (Nehemiah 4:14). The Psalmist says, “When I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night” (Psalm 63:3), and again in Psalm 119:55, “I remember your name in the night, O LORD, and keep your law.”
When You Are Young
These commands to remember God are for different reasons in the passages stated above, but when does Solomon say it is best to remember God? “In the days of your youth.” According to Solomon, these readers (who are young people) are to remember their Creator in the days of their youth.
Studies show that our habits are developed when we are young (ask any adult how hard it is to break free from a bad habit!). If you start smoking when you are a teen, chances are you will be smoking when you are an adult. It is not even arguable today that your youth and teen years are the most important years of your life. And that’s why Solomon commands his readers to remember their Creator in the days of their youth. Remember Him “before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them.” Your days as a youth: It’s when you discover who you are. It’s when you discover what life is really all about. And these years are truly vital. They are your:
1. Energetic Years
When you are young, you have the most energy. Why would you wait until you are pegging out, and running down before you serve God? Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen some grannies who can move faster than a Corvette when they see that candles are on sale in Wal-Mart. But when we are young, that is when our mind is developing, that is when our bodies are the most strong and muscular, that is when our minds are sharp and. God deserves our most active and healthy years. Remember God in your energetic years.
2. Sensitive Years
Studies also show that more people become Christians when they are young than they do when they are middle aged or older. A great reason for that is because our youthful years are our sensitive years. When you are young, that is when you are most sensitive to the things going on around you and the different issues that you are facing. As you get older, you get a bit callous. You get used to the things going on around you. What better time to remember God than when you are most sensitive? Remember God in your sensitive years.
3. Teachable Years
You learn more when you are young than any other period of life. Your brain is developing and when you are young, you are the most teachable. Allow God to teach you His ways and His thoughts through the Word of God while you are the most teachable. Remember God in your teachable years.
4. Dangerous Years
Living as a teenager is like living in a minefield. We experience hormones, temptations, peer pressure, the drive to feel accepted, testosterone, etc. None of us go through our teenage years without making mistakes of some kind. Maybe we experimented with drugs of some kind, maybe we got more sexual than we should have, or maybe we just blew up on someone because they looked at us the wrong way. Remember God in your dangerous years.
How to Remember God
During these best years, what are some practical steps that you can take to remember God?
- Get to know God: Study God’s Word. Listen to good sermons, read good books, and study the Bible. Your brain is never in neutral-mode. You are always thinking about something. Fill your mind with the things of God revealed in the Word of God. What better way to remember your Creator than to think constantly His thoughts which are revealed in the Bible?
- Join with your Creator’s friends: Find other Christians who love Christ and love His Word and build friendships with them. When you are around someone long enough, they begin to rub off on you; what better way to remember your Creator than to constantly surround yourself with the people whom He has redeemed?
Remember your Creator in the days of your youth.