I continued reading Ecclesiastes this week, and pondered on a verse from chapter eleven. The NIV translation reads like this: ‘However many years anyone may live, let them enjoy them all.‘ (11:8).
I like to read different translations of the Bible, comparing the nuanced differences in words, phrasing, emphasis. Sometimes when I am struggling with a verse, finding that something just doesn’t ring real enough for me or the picture is cloudy, a different translation makes it all the more clearer. Or if I find a verse that sings to me, a verse that feels important to me on the page of my story, different translations help me pray on it and praise God all the more for His speaking to me through His word.
Ecclesiastes 11:8 reads beautifully in every translation. Many translations substitute ‘enjoy’ for ‘rejoice’, like the ESV which reads, ‘So if a person lives many years, let him rejoice in them all‘. The Good News translation speaks of gratitude: ‘Be grateful for every year you live‘. The NLT reminded me that sometimes it is only as we grow older that we learn to be thankful for our days. It reads: ‘When people live to be very old, let them rejoice in every day of life‘. But The Message, a translation I read daily, really made this verse sing for me.
Even if you live a long time, don’t take a single day for granted.
Take delight in each light-filled hour…
At the moment, I’m tired. It’s been a long semester at school and, if I’m honest, I’m counting down the days to Spring Break. Sometimes, each day feels like just another day less to go until I can rest. But that is not a praise-worthy attitude.
God blesses us. Sometimes it’s in the big things – in dreams realized, in miracles of healing, in new families. But not all days are like that. Some days the only achievement is to get through it. But that is a blessing too.
The biggest blessing God gives us is life. Every day we wake up, the sun rises, we rise, and our praise should rise too. Does that mean we have to sing worship songs every day, belt them out at the top of our lungs with hands raised and eyes closed in praise? I don’t think so. Take delight in each light-filled hour…
I think that enjoying each day we are given is an act of worship. Maybe the most honest act of worship there is. Because, after all, our Father God loves us and takes delight in us. I know that seeing my nephew and niece having fun, or watching my students laugh and smile, makes me smile too. It’s infectious – when people I love smile, I simple have to smile too. That’s what love is. So if God loves us, don’t you think that each time we laugh, or smile, or feel glad, that He shares in that joy?
A Father watching his daughter smile, smiles too. That’s what love is.
On my recent trip to the mountains, I bought a selection of cards with sayings, quotes, words of wisdom on. One of those cards seemed to fit alongside this verse well. I stuck it in my Bible as a reminder that each day is a blessing from God, a blessing to embrace with open arms and a willing, hopeful smile. There’s no author on the card, so I don’t know who’s words I’m borrowing, but they are a good reminder for me to live each day as it is: an opportunity to make my Heavenly Father smile.
This is the beginning of a new day.
You have been given this day to use as you will.
You can waste it or use it for good.
What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.
When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever;
in its place is something that you have left behind…
Let it be something good.
Let it be something that makes me smile. Let it be something that makes my Father smile.