Don’t Waste Your Youth

Posted: February 28, 2018 by keystoneyouth in Ecclesiastes Lessons
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Attention Funnel: Things that Make Me Feel Old/ Video of Couple Who sees what they will look like when they are older.

Introduction:

  • This is our last week in Ecclesiastes. We’re going to take one last look into this book written by Solomon and hopefully see some of the same themes we’ve already hit on throughout this series.
  • Tonight, Solomon is going to point us to look ahead to the day when our bodies are old and spent. And his goal in doing this is to remind us, “You’re only young once, so don’t waste your youth.”

 Big Idea: Spend your youth wisely.

 Passage: Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:8; 12:13

Main Points:

  • We are all on a path to wheelchairs and walkers.
  • Youth is like money you can’t save.
  • Growing old can be filled with joy instead of regret.

We are all on a path to wheelchairs and walkers. (12:2-8)

  • In verse 2-8, Solomon again hits us with what the future holds for us. But instead of just talking about the ending (death) he talks about what will happen as we age. Solomon compares growing old to several things.
  • Growing old is like a coming storm (vs. 2)
    • It’s like a coming thunderstorm. The sun, the moon, the stars are all darkened by clouds. The rain eventually pours down.
  • Growing old is like a decaying house (vs. 3-5).
    • We love to show before and after pictures of a house or room that was redone and before. Solomon is giving us a before and after picture of a house that is falling apart (show picture).
    • Verse 3-5 gives us imagery for an old man who has lost his strength, his hair is going gray, he is afraid of falling for fear that he won’t be able to get back up, his eyesight has gone bad, he has lost his hearing and his teeth have fallen out.
    • Even at 28 years old – In the prime of my Youth Pastor Career, I already am starting to feel this. My eyes are starting to go bad, death darts and dodgeball make me feel like I just pitched a 9 inning game of baseball, sometimes I wake up and I’m sure just from sleeping. It feels like Bri was punching me in the arm in the middle of the night or like I slept in a straightjacket. And I’m only 28!!
  • Growing old and dying is like losing something very precious (vs. 6-8).
    • It’s like a silver chain being snapped. It’s like a golden bowl being broken. It’s like a fountain of water that dries up and no longer give water.
    • This is where we are all headed… One day, all the life and vitality you and I now have will be bones in the ground 6 feet under.
  • Apply: If your identity is in something in this world, age will slowly rip it away from you.
    • If you think you are important and special because you have a 6 pack, or all the boys fall over when you smile at them. One day, grandpa bod or grandma bod.
    • If you think you matter because you are really good at a certain sport. One day, your knees will give out and your hip will pop.
    • If your life revolves around pleasure – one day even eating will seem like a chore.
    • If your life revolves around people’s approval of you – one day you will be in a retirement home and everyone except your children will have forgotten you.
    • If your life revolves around how smart you are – one day you’ll find it hard to remember what you even ate for breakfast.
  • Solomon is saying, if you put your hope, meaning, and joy in something in this life. Age will slowly devastate you.

 Youth is like money you can’t save (11:9-12:1)

  • What would you be willing to do for this $20 bill? If I gave it to you, what would you spend it on? Now what would you do If I took out a light and lit it on fire? You would say, “Stop! What are you doing?? Don’t waste it like that!”
  • This is exactly what Solomon is telling us about our youth.
  • Solomon wants us to see that being young is like being given a briefcase full of money.
    • And some of us are simply taking a match and lighting the briefcase on fire.
    • Solomon tells us, stop! Don’t waste it! Use it for all it’s worth.
  • Solomon gives us three specific ways to spend our youth well, rather than wasting it. He tells us, “Before you grow old and your youth disappears, Rejoice, Remove, and Remember.”
  • Rejoice in your youth.
    • This is the first command given to us in vs. 9
    • Think about that… Joy and happiness is commanded by God.
      • This is part of what Solomon has been trying to draw us back to again and again – ENJOY your life as a gift from God.
    • In Fact, Solomon goes one step further… he says that one day we will be held in judgment for how we used this life.
      • We tend to think that means, “So be careful about how you enjoy life. Know that one day God will judge you for everything you did.”
    • And while that is part of it, I think it also means, “One day, we are going to stand before God and be judged for how much joy we had.”
    • Getting your license. When you go to get your license, you are judged by whether you can parallel park, follow signs, put on your seat-belt, etc. Imagine if at the end, you were also judged by how much you seemed to enjoy being behind the wheel.
  • If you want to spend your youth well… maximize your joy in God by being filled with gratitude.
  • If you want to waste your youth… be really miserable and complain a lot.
    • Waste though joyless religion. Some are really religious, you check all the right boxes, but there’s really no joy in your relationship with God. Because it’s all about what you have to do for him.
    • Waste through pursuing joy in all the wrong places. Some are looking at everything the world offers you in your teenage years and chasing after it.
    • But here is the crazy thing about the typical teenage temptations… sex, drugs and alcohol, meth lab in your basement… they actually destroy your ability to feel real joy.
    • AJR has a song called Sober Up. It’s all about longing to be young again because he feels like growing up has made him numb. And here’s what he says, “All my new friends, We smiled at party time, But soon we forgot to smile, At anything else.”
  • Remove unnecessary worries.
    • Solomon tells us to remove vexation – unnecessary stress, anxiety, and worries.
    • Another way we cause unnecessary vexation is by causing all sorts of drama. We love to stir things up, pass on gossip, turn on friends at the smallest thing, and insert ourselves into things we have no business being a part of. If you find yourself constantly in drama… let me be the first to tell you, “The problem is not everyone else, the problem is YOU.” You are drawn to drama like a piranha drawn to blood. And you are causing all sorts of vexation that is utterly pointless.
    • If you want to waste your youth, cause lots of drama, always be worried about the future, and be overly concerned with what other people think about you.
    • If you want to spend your youth well, start taking all your cares to God, and stop overloading yourself with worries.
  • Remember God while you are young.
    • This is so massively important.
    • We all have a place in our rooms where we put things if we just want to forget about them. Maybe it’s a closet, maybe it’s a shelf somewhere, maybe it’s under the dresser. Where do you put stuff you just want to forget about? I have this random box under my bedside table, and it has all sorts of random things in it.
    • One of the greatest lies we are told when we are young is, “If you want to enjoy your teens and twenties, you need to stick God in that spot. You need to forget about him for a couple years. Otherwise, you won’t really be able to enjoy your youth.”
    • But Solomon tells us, “If you want spend your youth well, start taking your faith seriously now.” Wrestle with why you believe what you believe. Make it your own. Have your faith start to shape how you live and all the decisions you make.
    • And if you want to waste your youth, forget about God and stick him in a box somewhere in the corner of your room.

Growing old can be filled with joy instead of regret.

  • Many people as they grow older, are filled with regret… they are filled with regret over the things they didn’t do along with the foolish things they did do.
  • I look back on my high school years with many regrets… things I said, things I did, things I didn’t do. But the biggest regret I have, is that I just wasted so much of my time. I went after the typical high school temptations and thought they would give me life… and they left me broken, confused, and depressed.
  • And I can tell you guys this over and over and over again. And yet for some reason, some of you continue to think, “Whatever, I’m still going to do whatever I want. My life will turn out differently.” And my message to you is the same it would be if I could go back and talk to my 16-year-old self, “Don’t be such a fool.”
  • For others of you, you really don’t want to waste your youth. You are serious about making not just your 20s,30s, and 40s count, but also your teen years.
  • If that’s you, here is my recommendation: Do everything you can to increase your joy in Christ and sacrifice your life to love other people.
    • What makes you happy, not just to be alive, but makes you praise and delight in Jesus? Do those things as often as you can.
      • Because here’s the deal… if knowing Jesus is your greatest joy, then the older you get, the better you know him, and the closer you get to seeing him face to face.
    • Where can you get over your own wants, comforts, desires to help other people and to love other people. Do that!
      • Notice you probably never hear anyone say, “I just wish I would have been more selfish and focused on me when I was younger.”
    • Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
    • In other words, Love God, and Love other people… this is the whole duty of our lives here on earth. And it’s the only thing that will help us get to the end and not say, “I wasted it.”

 

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