If you have about 5 minutes to spare, I’d highly recommend watching this video clip. “Dead Poets’ Society” is one of my favorite movies of all time, and the advice Robin Williams’ Mr. Keating gives his students is highly reminiscent of part of today’s reading in Ecclesiastes 11 and 12.
There are two points I wanted to bring out from that passage.
Oh, how sweet the light of day,
And how wonderful to live in the sunshine!
Even if you live a long time, don’t take a single day for granted.
Take delight in each light-filled hour,
Remembering that there will also be many dark days
And that most of what comes your way is smoke.
First, don’t take a single day for granted. As Mr. Keating told his class, carpe diem. Seize the day.
When my husband died in 2008, I was so grateful that he and I had made it a priority in our marriage not to take a single day for granted. Two days after he passed away, I posted on my personal blog about our philosophy of No Regrets. Even more so now, I believe in the truth of what I wrote that day and the wisdom of the way we lived our lives. You never know how long you have with those you love.
You who are young, make the most of your youth.
Relish your youthful vigor.
Follow the impulses of your heart.
If something looks good to you, pursue it.
But know also that not just anything goes;
You have to answer to God for every last bit of it.
Second, with all the passionate advice about following your heart and pursuing your dreams, Solomon tempers it with a dose of serious wisdom: Remember that you will answer to God in the end. Not just anything goes — the impulses of your heart can lead you astray, and your dreams are not always what God wants for you.
But how can we achieve that balance? How do we reconcile our need to seize the day and live our lives to the fullest while we are young with that wisdom that not everything we will want to pursue is going to be God’s desire for our lives?
Ecclesiastes 12:1 has the answer: “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth.” (NIV)
The Message translation says to “honor and enjoy” Him. I really like the Amplified Bible version as well:
Remember [earnestly] also your Creator [that you are not your own, but His property now] in the days of your youth, before the evil days come or the years draw near when you will say [of physical pleasures], I have no enjoyment in them
Remember that you are not your own, but His. And remember it now, not when you are done “sowing your wild oats” and having your own way.
This is how you live your life to the fullest, with no regrets.
Seize the day.