Minute Meditation on Youth and Aging from the Book of Ecclesiastes

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“You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth” (Ecclesiastes 11:9a, NIV). In read that text in my class; the students rejoiced at the sacred author’s words. However, I went on to point out that the author also reminds his readers that “youth and vigor are fleeting” (Ecclesiastes 11:10b, BSB). In other words, from the moment a human being is conceived and born, he or she is constantly changing, in the process of becoming older. Once the process has begun, the only way it comes to an end is in death.

Every human being, then, is inexorably aging. Younger people should keep that in mind, because unless their lives are cut short by some kind of tragedy or illness, they, too, will become old. One day, they will long for the respect from the young, just as the older generation now yearns for respect from the younger generation. Thus, whether young or old, human beings, in general, want to be respected and acknowledged as persons.

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