Ecclesiastes 11:9, 10
Rejoice, O young man, in your youth; and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth, and walk in the ways of your heart…
There is certainly no asceticism in the teaching of this book. On the other hand, there is no commendation of worldliness and voluptuousness. Human nature is prone to extremes; and even religious teachers are not always successful in avoiding them. But we seem in this passage to listen to teaching which at once recognizes the claims of human nature and of the earthly life, and yet solemnly maintains the subordination of all our pleasures and occupations to the service of our Master, and to our preparation for the great account.
I. THE DIVINE PROVISION OF LIFE'S JOYS. If this language be not the language of irony - and it seems better to take it as sober serious truth, - then we are taught that the delights of this earthly existence, however they are capable of abuse, are in themselves not evil, but proofs of the Creator's benevolence, to be accepted with devout thanksgiving. In dealing with the young it is especially important to avoid warring with their innocent pleasures. These may sometimes seem to us trivial and unprofitable; but a juster view of human nature will convince us that they are wisely appointed to fulfill a certain place and office in human life.
II. THE DIVINE APPOINTMENT OF FUTURE JUDGMENT. Conscience suggests that we are responsible beings, and that retribution is a reality. What conscience suggests revelation certifies. The Bible lays the greatest stress upon individual accountability. We are taught in the text that we are not only responsible for the work we do in life, but for the pleasures we pursue. Certainly it is of the greatest advantage that men should recollect in the days of happiness the assurances of Scripture, that God shall ere long bring them into judgment. Such recollection will check any inclination to unlawful enjoyments, and will prevent undue absorption in enjoyments which are in themselves lawful, but to which a disproportionate value may be attached. There is a sense in which, as we are here reminded, "youth and the prime of life are vanity." They will prove to be so to those who imagine that they will last, to these who pride themselves in them and boast of them, to those who use them only as the Opportunity of personal pleasure, to those who forget their Creator, neglect his Law, and despise his Gospel
III. THE POSSIBILITY OF ACCEPTING GOD'S GIFTS AND OF USING THEM UNDER A SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY, AND WITH A VIEW TO THE GREAT ACCOUNT. If every blessing in this life be taken as coming directly from the great Giver's hand, as a token of his favor, and as the result of the mediation of his blessed Son, then may the very enjoyments of this life become to Christians the occasion of present grace and the earnest of fullness of joy. - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.
WEB: Rejoice, young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth, and walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes; but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.