“For this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.”
– Ecclesiastes 7:2
This is one of those verses in the Bible that’s just a sober reminder to all of us that we will one day die, and that day could be any day. It could be today for any one of us. Now think about James 4, which just reminds us that our life is a mist, it’s a vapor. It’s here one second and gone the next. That’s part of the picture here in Ecclesiastes 7, “This is the end of all mankind,” and listen to this phrase, “The living will lay it to heart.” Those who live who are wise, remember Ecclesiastes, this is a part of wisdom literature in the Bible.
Reminded of God’s Wisdom
There is wisdom that’s found in living daily, with the reality that none of us is guaranteed tomorrow, and so we make the most of today. Doesn’t this just lead us like, “Oh, just think about how this leads us to pray and then to live”? What if you knew today was your last day, how would that change the way you love the people around you, the way you speak to the people around you, the way you prioritize different things?
Now, obviously, there’s a sense in which that kind of thinking falters a bit. I mean if you knew today was the last day, you might not go to work, or do email, or this or that in the same way that… Well, we need to do sometimes on a daily basis in our jobs as we faithfully follow God and provide for families.
Ecclesiastes 7:2 Helps Us Honor God
We go to school, whatever it might be, but it is good to think, “Okay, how can I work today in a way that I’m ready to see Jesus’ face? How can I relate to others today in a way that I’m ready to see Jesus’ face, and they are ready to see Jesus’ face?” It changes the way you live when you lay it to heart, that your life is a vapor, a mist.
So we pray, God, help us today to make the most of the day we have. And if we’re listening to this tonight, tomorrow, to make the most of each moment, each day with you. Before you God, we want to be found faithful before you, when we want to stand before you on that day. And if it’s today, hear you say, “Well done, good, and faithful servant.”
Ecclesiastes 7:2 Leads Us to Pray for God’s Grace
God, we pray for your grace to live before you, that could happen today, and to live before others like this. God makes even more sense, not that it didn’t before, but your great commandment. Still love you with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and I love others as ourselves.
God, help us to do that today, help us to love you wholeheartedly and love others selflessly, and seems like the wisest way to live today if we knew it was going to be our last. So, God helps us to do this, help us to love you, love others, care for others, speak to others in a way that points them to you, walk in holiness before you, share the gospel, to share the news that has the power to transform people’s lives around us for all of eternity.
Called to Share the Gospel with Urgency
God, we pray that you would help us to live like that, knowing that the people around us are not guaranteed tomorrow either, that they could be gone tomorrow. And so help us to share the gospel with urgency today as we pray for unreached people all the time. God, we pray for the spread of the gospel to billions, three billion-plus people who have little to no knowledge of the gospel right now, many who will not make it to tomorrow, without ever hearing the good news of your grace.
Help us in our lives and our families and churches to make this gospel known among all the nations in the little bit of time you’ve given us on this earth. God, we pray that you’d help us to live with the end in mind and to lay all of this to heart today. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.