Seize the Day!
“Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment” (Ecc. 11:9).
I love how permissive this statement is. It’s Solomon’s equivalent of God’s statement in the Garden of Eden: “You can eat the fruit of ANY tree in the entire garden! Millions of opportunities! Just don’t eat that one.”
The verse is especially fascinating in light of Solomon’s experience in chapters 1 and 2. There, he goes nuts trying to find satisfaction in every corner of the earth—through women, drink, pleasure, philosophy, possessions, achievements. He plants, builds, dreams and creates, following his eyes and his heart wherever they lead. In the end, he says, “It was all a vapor.”
Before the Rolling Stones ever sang, “I can’t get no satisfaction,” and before Bono ever sang, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for,” Solomon was already humming that tune.
And that’s what makes this verse so fascinating – because it’s like Solomon is reversing course on the vanity of these activities. It’s like he’s saying, “Do everything I did— Achieve, Enjoy, Learn, Grow, Build, Plant, Do Good, Do Lots, and do these things Night and Day!”—BUT—know that if you’re leaving God out of the picture, there’s nothing in it.
It’s like the old poem says:
Only one life
‘Twill soon be past
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
That’s what the last part about judgment is really about. It’s not merely about curbing our excesses; it’s about infusing our lives with meaning. The point is: If an eternal God judges what we do, then what we do matters eternally. Christians may do many of the same things “under the sun” that everyone else does. But our life has meaning because even though it’s done under the sun, it’s done FOR the One who holds it.
So go out into the world and Carpe Diem—seize the day! Plant, build, dream and create. Just as Jesus set His eyes on us, we set ours on Him, and then through Him—like a lens through which we see—upon the rest of the world He’s given us.
If your heart and your eyes are set on Jesus, they won’t lead you astray.
In seizing the day, you will seize eternity.