Death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart. Ecclesiastes 7:2
Free funerals for the living. That’s the service offered by an establishment in South Korea. Since it opened in 2012, more than 25,000 people—from teenagers to retirees—have participated in mass “living funeral” services, hoping to improve their lives by considering their deaths. Officials say “the simulated death ceremonies are meant to give the participant a truthful sense of their lives, inspire gratitude, and aid in forgiveness and reconnection among family and friends.”
These words echo the wisdom given by the teacher who wrote Ecclesiastes. “Death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart” (Ecclesiastes 7:2). Death reminds us of the brevity of life and that we only have a certain amount of time to live and love well. It loosens our grip on some of God’s good gifts—such as money, relationships, and pleasure—and frees us to enjoy them in the here and now as we store up “treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:20).
As we remember that death may come knocking anytime, perhaps it’ll compel us to not postpone that visit with our parents, delay our decision to serve God in a particular way, or compromise our time with our children for our work. With God’s help, we can learn to live wisely.
What changes will you make in your life today as you think about death? How can you be more conscious about death amid the hustle and bustle of life?
Loving God, help me to remember the brevity of life and to live well today.
To learn more about what happens after death.
Scholars have heavily debated the authorship of Ecclesiastes. The opening verse identifies the author as “the Teacher” (Hebrew Qohelet), but that is a title, not a proper name. The traditional view has ascribed authorship to Solomon because of statements summarized well in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: “The author also identified himself as a ‘son of David’ (1:1), a ‘king in Jerusalem’ (1:1), and ‘king over Israel in Jerusalem’ (1:12). Moreover, in the autobiographical section (1:12–2:26) he said he was wiser ‘than anyone who [had] ruled over Jerusalem before’ him (1:16); that he was a builder of great projects (2:4–6); and that he possessed numerous slaves (2:7), incomparable herds of sheep and cattle (2:7), great wealth (2:8), and a large harem (2:8). In short he claimed to be greater than anyone who lived in Jerusalem before him (2:9).” These statements seem to provide more than enough evidence to support Solomon as the author of Ecclesiastes.