“Everything you were taught can be put into a few words: Respect and obey God! This is what life is all about. God will judge everything we do, even what is done in secret, whether good or bad” (Ecclesiastes 12:13,14 Contemporary English Version).
WHEN LIFE HAS BEEN SOBERLY CONSIDERED, THE CONCLUSION OF THE WHOLE MATTER IS THAT WE SHOULD PROPERLY RELATE OURSELVES TO GOD. In other words, we should (1) adopt a posture of real reverence toward Him, and (2) commit ourselves to carrying out His instructions in every area of life. “Respect and obey God! This is what life is all about.” Compared to this priority, nothing else even tips the scale. This is our all, our everything.
Daniel Webster, a statesman who moved in the highest circles of temporal power and consequence, once said, “The most important thought I ever had was that of my individual responsibility to God.” This is a statement of pure insight. It penetrates the complicated appearance that many things are important and touches the one and only thing that is really important after all (Luke 10:41,42). The quality of our lives would increase dramatically if we could accept this insight before the burden of years finally forces us to recognize our mortality. By the time most of us see what Webster saw, we’ve already misspent most of our life-resources, and there is little to give God but our leftovers.
The philosophical work to which Ecclesiastes 12:13,14 is the conclusion is a work that ought to be of considerable interest to us at the present moment in history. Never before have so many issues (and so much commerce) crowded around us, clamoring for our attention. Somewhere in our brains we know that most of these things are of nothing more than passing interest. Today’s front-page news moves to the back page tomorrow and is completely forgotten the day after that. Solomon used the word “vanity” to describe the wispy, fleeting nature of all this frantic worldly business: “I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:14). Do we not desperately need to hear this wise old king recall us to what is solid and substantial?
Ah! For a vision of God!
For a mighty grasp of the real,
Feet firm based on granite in place of crumbling sand!