Remember Your Creator


“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).

One of the observations made repeatedly in Ecclesiastes is that life under the sun is uncertain. “Time and chance happen to them all” and can overturn our best-laid plans (Eccles. 9:11-12). Rather than allowing that circumstance to paralyze us, perhaps it should spur us to action.

Even if there are risks in everything, it is better to “cast your bread upon the waters”—better to fail in trying than not to try at all (Eccles. 11:1-6). Even though we do not know what the future holds, the “God who makes everything” does (v. 5). So, “in the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper” (v. 6).

It’s a lesson repeated often in the New Testament. “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16). “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season” (2 Tim. 4:2).

Find the joy in life. “So if a person lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember that the days of darkness will be many” (Eccles. 11:7-8). Live life joyfully, yet seriously.

It is in this context that Solomon directs his words to the young. “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” (Eccles. 11:9-10). The days of youth, though fleeting, are a time to rejoice. But wisdom says not only to enjoy life in those days, but also to remember that we must always do right before God.

“Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth” (Eccles. 12:1). Be godly, even in the days of youth. Remember that God made us and alone knows the true meaning of our lives. Remember that he made everything beautiful in its time, and has put eternity in our hearts (Eccles. 3:11). To remember our Creator means to live with the knowledge that we need him. To remember our Creator is to commit ourselves to him.

You are never too young to look to your Creator. Indeed, the days of youth are the best and most important time to remember him. Those are the formative years. Attitudes are being shaped. Values are being embraced. Habits are being made. These are wise words that young people (and their elders) should take to heart.

The Preacher in Ecclesiastes says it is best to remember God in the days of youth, before old age and finally death come (Eccles.12:2-7). Youth, after all, is fleeting. This reality is part of what he repeatedly calls “vanity.”

But the seeming despair about the vanity and apparent meaninglessness of life under the sun is ultimately answered by the Preacher with his well-known statement at the end of Ecclesiastes: “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Eccles. 12:13).

Life will have its sorrows, its disappointment, its frustrations. Even at its best, life without God lacks real purpose. Divine wisdom reminds us not to forget the one thing that gives meaning. Whatever life brings, always remember the whole duty of man. Remember your Creator.

Dan Petty