As Solomon continues his reflections and observations about life, he makes a stunning observation in Ecc 7:2 when he says,
“It is better to go to the house of mourning
than to go to the house of feasting,
for this is the end of all mankind,
and the living will lay it to heart.”
What does Solomon mean by such a statement?
He reminds us that life is short. The wise person is the one who thinks deeply about that truth because it will impact the way he lives.
Iain Proven summarizes this thought in this way, “Recognizing the brevity and preciousness of life, we should live life seriously.” We must take life seriously and make the best of it for God’s glory because our days are limited.
Why does Solomon mention the “house of mourning”? He is referring here to the place of death of a friend or loved one. When we are mourning, why are we more open to considering the brevity of life?
Robert Davidson notes, “There are things we learn when face to face with sorrow, ‘in the house of mourning’, which we do not and cannot learn in the midst of happiness, ‘in the house of feasting’”. This reality seems to imply that although times or mourning are difficult and painful, it is at such times that we are more open to God’s prodding for our spiritual growth.
Have you noticed this truth in your life? I can say that has been true for me. I will always remember a good friend on my high school baseball team who died in a car accident in my first year of college. I had recently become a Christian in college and he still had another year of high school left. The news of his untimely death made me think seriously about life and its brevity.
Solomon is wisely reminding us of the importance of making the most of the few days we have upon this earth. It is easy to think we will never die, but the wise person thinks about the certainty of his death because it will encourage him to make the most of life.
Father, thank you for the reminder of the certainty of death. I would be wise to give that truth serious thought because it will impact the way I live my life. The thought of death should instruct me to live for eternal values and boldly give my life away in service for you. As Jim Elliott, the missionary who died on the mission field said, “He is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” May you continue to remind me of the wisdom of living for you in spite of my feelings, or what the culture and my circumstances might say.
Following Jesus with you,