1 Remember to serve God while you are young.
He is the one who made you.
Your life will have many troubles in the future.
During those years, you will say,
‘I do not enjoy my life any more.’
2 When you are old, the light from the sun will not seem to be bright.
You will not see the moon or the stars.
There will always be dark clouds after the rain.
3 Your arms that have kept you safe will shake.
Your legs will become weak.
You will have only a few teeth to eat with.
Your eyes will no longer see very well.
4 Your ears will not hear noises outside in the streets.
You will not hear the sound of people as they work.
You will not hear the sound of people as they sing songs.
But a bird's song will wake you
when you want to sleep.
5 You will be afraid to stand on high places.
You will worry about danger in the streets.
When you are old, your hair will become white,
like the flowers on an almond tree.
You will feel too tired to move yourself,
like an old grasshopper.
You will not want to have sex.
Finally, we will all die and go to our home in the ground.
Many people will weep at our funeral.
6 Remember to serve God while you are young,
because one day your life will finish.
It will be like a silver chain that breaks;
like a gold bowl that breaks;
like a water pot at the well that breaks into pieces;
like a rope at the well that breaks apart.
12:6In verses 1-6, the Teacher uses different pictures to describe what happens to people in old age.
7 Our bodies go back into the ground as dust.
The breath of our life goes back to God,
who gave it to us.
8 So I, the Teacher, say,
‘All these things have no purpose.
We cannot understand why they happen.’
About the Teacher
9 The Teacher was wise man. He also taught the people to understand things. He studied many proverbs and he wrote them down carefully. 10 The Teacher tried to find the right words, so that he could show the true meaning of what he wrote. 11 The words of wise people are like sharp sticks that a farmer uses to move his animals along. Their messages are like strong nails in a piece of wood. It is God, our one Shepherd, who gives these messages to us.
A final message
12 My son, I warn you to be careful about any other teaching. There will always be more and more books to read. If you try to study everything, you will be very weak and tired.
13 Now I have heard everything and this is what I have decided: Respect God and obey his commands. That is God's purpose for all people. 14 Remember that God will judge everything that we do, to see if it is good or it is bad. He knows even the things that we do secretly.