Good Things to Do When You’re Young

Good Things to Do When You're YoungText: Ecclesiastes 11:9-12:1

“Childhood and the prime of life are fleeting…” The truth of this becomes more apparent with age. How can one make the most of his youth? Depending on who you ask, you may get different answers (pursue education, build friendships, etc.). What does the Bible say?

Enjoy Life (Ecclesiastes 11:9-10)

  • The wise man said that during youth, enjoy life – generally there are less of the challenges/hardships that come with age (Ecclesiastes 12:2-7); there are fewer responsibilities in youth (cf. Luke 7:32)
  • However, this does not mean that the young have a license to sin (“sow their wild oats”) – there is still a responsibility to serve God (Ecclesiastes 11:9; 12:13-14)

Get Married (Proverbs 5:18)

  • In addressing his son/sons (Proverbs 5:1, 7), the wise man said to “rejoice in the wife of your youth” – context is about avoiding fornication (Proverbs 5:3-8, 20); this is an important part of marriage (1 Corinthians 7:2-5, 9)
  • This is not a suggestion to rush into marriage and marry the wrong person (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:14) and also does not mean that you MUST get married (1 Corinthians 7:6-8) – but from youth, be looking for one who would make a good/godly spouse; do not delay marriage arbitrarily/unnecessarily (to finish school, establish a career, stabilize finances, etc.)

Work Hard (Proverbs 20:29)

  • Old men have the advantage of experience and wisdom; young men have the advantage of strength – therefore, it is good to make the most of this advantage (Lamentations 3:27); work hard to prepare for the future (Proverbs 21:5; 12:24)
  • Not to do this to the neglect of spiritual things (Luke 12:16-21; Exodus 34:21) – but do not try to justify laziness and put off diligent labor in youth (Proverbs 28:19; 26:13-16)

Honor Father and Mother (Ephesians 6:1-3)

  • Two commands (obey and honor) – not grudgingly obedient, but with a respect for them; this is for YOUR benefit as they are helping you move from foolishness to righteousness (Proverbs 22:15; Hebrews 12:11)
  • Important that this is “in the Lord” (Ephesians 6:1) – some try to raise children in the Lord, some do not; if not, as you get old enough to realize this, you might respect your parents, but do not follow them into sin (Ezekiel 18:14)

Listen to Your Elders (1 Peter 5:5)

  • Immediate context is about submitting to elders in the church (1 Peter 5:1-3) – principle applies beyond that (cf. Leviticus 19:32); there is wisdom to be gained from those who are older than us (Proverbs 20:29)
  • This is not a substitute for following God’s word (Psalm 119:99-100) – but it is a reminder to have the humility to listen (Proverbs 12:15); you do not have all of the answers

Remember Your Creator (Ecclesiastes 12:1)

  • This is the foundation for everything else – if you forget God, everything else will be misdirected and you will end up with a life of futility and vanity (Ecclesiastes 1:14; 2:17)
  • This does not mean that one cannot turn to God later in life (cf. Matthew 20:1-16), but it is more difficult – we can easily become distracted and/or bitter with age; besides this, we do not know how long we have (James 4:14; 2 Peter 3:9-10)


  • Youth is a blessing, but it is fleeting
  • While you are young, make sure you are doing these things that are good to do

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