Most young people look forward to being older but not being old. Getting old is something no one really wants but it’s something that happens to us all, whether we like it or not (trust me, I know). And the Bible has a lot of wisdom to offer on the matter of growing old. Here’s one of them:
“So remember your Creator in the days of your youth: Before the days of adversity come, and the years approach when you will say, “I have no delight in them”” (Ecclesiastes 12:1)
Remember your Creator in the days of your youth. Why? That’s a strange kind of thing for Solomon to say isn’t it? Shouldn’t he be saying “Remember your Creator in the days of your old age.” I mean, that’s when you need to think about God the most isn’t it – when you’re close to death?
No, says Solomon. That’s the mistake many people make. You need to remember God now, while you’re young.
Now why is this? I want to give you a few reasons.
1. You need to remember God in your youth because if you don’t, you are not likely to remember Him when you are older.
Believe me, I’ve been at a lot of death beds. I’ve watched a lot of people die, and I can tell you if they’ve managed to live their whole life not wanting God, why should they die wanting God? They’ve done without Him OK until now, why change anything?
You can look at the statistics yourself. Most people come to Christ when they are relatively young.
- 85% become Christians before age 14
- 10% become Christians between 15 – 30
- 4% become Christians after the age of 30
You see one of the signs of old age is an unwillingness to change. You get stayed in your ways. You get used to a certain way of doing something and it just stays that way. Look at your parents – when was the last time your dad grew all his hair out? Have you ever seen your parents change their music tastes? Or movie tastes? No, they are not going to change. Why? Because change gets harder as you grow older.
- If you choose to live without God now, it’s likely stay that way
- If Jesus isn’t part of your life right now, He isn’t likely to be a part later on
- The longer you wait to follow God, the less likely it will be you will ever do so
That’s why you need to remember God now, in your youth.
2. You need to remember God in your youth because much of the direction of your life is determined while you are young.
Before you hit 18 you will have made up your mind about where you are heading in life, whether you like National or Labour (or in my case, neither), what music tastes you like, what kind of friends you’ll have, and what kind of man or woman you’ll want to marry (or partner with, if that’s where you’re heading). And most of your habits – good and bad, will have already been formed. If God has not been a part of you deciding any of these things, you’re in for a very tough time of it.
If you don’t believe me, ask Solomon. Initially, Solomon loved God. He was the son of David and the builder of the temple. He asked for wisdom above any other gift. He started well but got off track. He eventually refused to remember his Creator in the days of his youth. Gradually, over the course of time, he made little compromises that became bigger compromises that in the end, caused disaster. He cultivated relationships with ungodly women and these ungodly women led him into idolatry. Even though he had everything this world has to offer (i.e., wine, wealth, wisdom, women, and work), he was miserable.
I came to Christ when I was 19 – all my habits, tastes, lifestyle was already set. And it was all heading in the opposite direction to what God wanted. So it all had to change. It was like starting over. It was hard. But not as hard as it would be if I was 40 or 50. By following and obeying God now, you can prevent yourself from experiencing a lot of pain.
3. You need to remember God in your youth, because as you get older your life becomes more difficult to manage.
The most difficult thing you have to face right now is getting up in the morning and remembering to rinse your breakfast dishes before you go to school. You don’t have anything to worry about. Your parents do all the worrying for you!
Later, as you get older, it isn’t going to be like that. There is coming a day when you will have to pay for yourself. You will have to pay for rend and food and petrol and phone and internet bills as well as a hundred other things. Right now you’re thinking about what to do with all the spare time you have. But later you’ll be thinking about things you’d like to do but you have neither the time nor the money.
“What?” you say to yourself, “no time and no money?” That’s right – just like your parents. Instead of getting exciting about going out, you’ll be excited to get an early night – because these kids of yours wear you out. You will go from one week to the next; one paycheck to the next. It will be a fight to survive. As the pressures grow and the weariness of life grows, you will find you will need God more and more every day.
But if you don’t live for God now, why should He help you later? Have you ever thought of that? He might say – “You’ve had your chance, and you snubbed your nose at me.”
Learn to live and trust God now and it will pay dividends later in life. Jesus will help you through the worst of trials.
4. You need to remember God in your youth, because you might not ever reach old age.
Have you ever thought of that? There’s no guarantee for any of you here, that you will reach old age. There are young boys, young teens, and young men dying every day. They die from accidents, they die from cancer, they die from war (they are dying in the Middle East right as I speak) and they are dying on our roads.
If you are thinking to yourself, “It’s OK, I’m going to follow Jesus when I get older” you are thinking very unwisely. You might not get much older.
So therefore choose to follow Jesus now, while you can, while the door is open.
I’m sure that many of you here have great plans for your lives. You may have plans for a great career where you are earning lots of money. You may have plans to travel the world and see all the sights. You may have plans to compete in some sport at an international level, like the Olympics. You may have plans to get married and have children of your own. But those plans don’t include living seriously as a Christian. Those plans don’t include Jesus. And so Jesus warned those who put other things ahead of God. He said,
“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it.” (Luke 9:24)
Now is the time to set the direction for your life. Now is the time align your priorities. Don’t leave it until later. Don’t leave it until you are 30 or 40 or 50. For then it may be too late. You’ll become stuck in your ways and less open to God. Make time for God now. There is NOTHING more important in life than being in a right relationship with God through his Son. Everything else is lesser. And without God, it’s all absolutely meaningless.
Have a great life.