This sermon is part of the sermon series "Ecclesiastes". See series.
People may not sing it much anymore, but the following Herb Magidson song was popular in its day:
You're gonna take that ocean trip, no matter, come what may;
You've got your reservations made, but you just can't get away.
Next year, for sure, you'll see the world, you'll really get around;
But how far can you travel when you're six feet under ground?
Then the refrain:
Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think!
Enjoy yourself, while you're still in the pink.
The years go by, as quickly as a wink,
Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, it's later than you think.
"Enjoy Yourself" was written in the 1930s, and popularized in the 1950s, but its perspective on life is as old as Ecclesiastes. Our time on earth is short, so we had better make the most of it, finding joy in its many pleasures.
Making the most of it
This may seem like a surprising perspective for the Preacher to take. From the opening words of Ecclesiastes, he has been telling us mostly about the troubles of life. Our existence under the sun is vanity and striving after the wind. Yet this is not the Preacher's only theme. He speaks to pleasure as well as to pain, especially in the so-called "enjoyment passages" of Ecclesiastes. At the end of chapter 2 he talked about eating and drinking (2:24-26). In the middle of chapter 3 he spoke about joyfully doing good as long as we live (3:12-13). In chapter 5 he explained how "good and fitting" it is for us to find enjoyment in our work, because this is our lot in life. Then in chapter 8 he went farther and commended joy as a lifestyle (8:15).
These passages pose a major challenge in interpreting the book of Ecclesiastes because they seem to contradict what the Preacher says about the frustration of life under the sun. ...
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