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’ … before the silver cord is snapped, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” Ecclesiastes 12
It’s common to our experience, isn’t it? When we’re young, life is exciting, possibilities are endless, and the strain of living hasn’t fully confronted us yet. And it’s during these times that we’re tempted to forget the God who made us, who sustains us, and who guides us. When we think we have no need of God, we tend to forget that God is not our servant, but that we are His.
This is the temptation that so many college students face these days. They are thrust into an environment where every pleasure is available to them, every opportunity seems within their reach, and every reason why they may have previously served God seems a distant memory. Freedom coupled with opportunity and ease can be a deadly cocktail of forgetfulness that will leave them with a nasty hangover when they get older and realize how vaporous these pursuits really were.
The writer of Ecclesiastes realized that any pursuit under the sun that leaves us forgetting our Creator is unsustainable. It’s vanity; it’s vapor. A consistent pursuit of God, full of reverence and remembrance, is the only solid, sustainable, and ultimately satisfying lifestyle. Yet it’s true now as much as it was true 3,000 years ago that the ease and possibilities of youth can cause us to forget these things in pursuit of counterfeit gods.
We’re all prone to forgetfulness, aren’t we? A quick glance at the nation of Israel’s history will remind us how often we forget the God of our Fathers in the immediacy of present circumstances and decisions. And just like Israel, we must be consistently reminding ourselves of what God has done and what He commands us to do. This was the whole point of Moses’ address to the Israelites in Deuteronomy; he reminded them that God is their Maker and their Lord, that He has been with them from the beginning (carrying them “as a man carries his son” Deut. 1:31), and that He must be obeyed.
We all need to be constantly under the teaching of the Word. Without hearing the Word preached and without consistent personal Scripture reading, how can we ever expect to remember our Creator? So too, it’s imperative that college students sit under teaching and are consistently reminded of God’s lordship and love. Without faithful teachers and shepherds who can invest in the lives of young people on the verge of forgetfulness, we are certain to lose a generation of potential kingdom servants: if not for their whole lives, then at least for their youth. And we all must be aware that young and old alike can forget God to pursue other things. And so we must listen with attentive ear to the writer of Ecclesiastes when he challenges us to “fear God and keep His commandments.”
The only way to develop this reverence and obedience is to be one who sits under the Word and remembers our Maker.
In Youth and in Age, may we never forget the God who made us and called us to be His people.