It’s graduation season. I’m sure lots of advice is being dispensed to young people. If you don’t mind, I’ll throw in my two cents as well.
Actually, it’s not my advice. It’s the advice of Solomon — who is described in the Bible as the wisest man of all time (1 Kings 3:12).
This particular advice comes toward the end of the book of Ecclesiastes. Solomon tells young people to do three things, each of which happens to begin with the letter “R.”
He tells them to Rejoice, Remove, and Remember.
First, Solomon tells young people to Rejoice. He says, “Rejoice, young man, during your childhood, and let your heart be pleasant during the days of young manhood. And follow the impulses of your heart and the desires of your eyes. Yet know that God will bring you to judgment for all these things” (Ecclesiastes 11:9 NASB).
The command to rejoice is a command the apostle Paul repeatedly stated in the book of Philippians. For example, Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (NIV).
Jesus also talked about rejoicing, saying, “Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven” (Matthew 5:12 NIV).
Second, Solomon tells young people to Remove. He says, “So, remove grief and anger from your heart and put away pain from your body, because childhood and the prime of life are fleeting” (Ecclesiastes 11:10 NASB).
Letting go of anger is something that Paul encouraged as well. He said, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32 NASB).
Third, Solomon tells young people to Remember. He says, “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth” (Ecclesiastes 12:1 NASB).
Previously, Moses had told the Israelites, “Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.
“Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. … You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:11-18 NIV).
Likewise, we certainly want young people to be successful as they move forward in their lives. But they need to remember the source of their success. They need to remember God.
So there’s my advice — Solomon’s advice, really — to young people: Rejoice, Remove, and Remember!
(Jake King is the preacher at Seneca Church of Christ. He can be reached at (417) 776-3077.)