Dear Grandparent: This is #21 in a series of 66 Bible Faith-building Bible Verses to Memorize With Your Grandchildren. The thread that weaves itself through these verses, one from each book of the Bible, is designed to create a heart of strong faith in you and your grandchild as you commit them to memory together. May God add his blessing to every word.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 Now, all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
My sweet grandchild, who is the smartest person you know? Is it your mom? Your dad, your science teacher – or your Grammie!?! Well, in the Bible, we’re told that Solomon was the wisest man on the whole earth, and that his wealth of understanding was as measureless as the sand on the seashore. (I Kings 4:29) Remember that Solomon also wrote the book of Proverbs (verse #20), which was made up of wise instructions for living a productive life. But Ecclesiastes is Solomon’s second book, and it’s written when the king was more like your grandparents’ age. Let’s talk about the difference between looking ahead to a fruitful life and looking behind at how our lives have already been lived.
God gave Solomon all that wisdom, but he didn’t always use it for himself. He spent most of his life accumulating more wealth and marrying more wives. The Bible tells us that when this mighty king looked back on his life of wealth and power that he realized those things didn’t really matter. At the end of King Solomon’s days on earth, he realized that true wisdom for living can be boiled down to one main idea, one rule that makes everything else work out: Fear God and keep his commandments. The reason we want to memorize this verse is so that when when you receive your first paycheck, when you buy your first car, when you dream of earning your first home, and when it looks like life is all about big vacations to faraway lands – you’ll remember Solomon’s wisdom and adjust your goals to match the ways of Almighty God.
You know how your mom uses a debit card to buy your groceries and pay for gas? Well, when your Grumpie and I were newlyweds, those cards were a brand new thing. They were called credit cards, and they worked like this: A company would mail out an application for you to fill out and return. If you could show them how much money you were making, they would help you buy stuff by letting you pay for it with a plastic card with their name on it. Like a new couch, for instance. Thirty days after you bought this couch, that credit card company would send you a bill. You then could choose to pay back the whole price of the couch, or you could pay a little each month until you had paid for it all. That sounds really great, doesn’t it?
There was a downside, though. When you paid a little back each month, the company added a fee. The next month, you still owed for the couch, plus the fee. Grumpie and I thought this was really cool at first. It seemed like such an easy way to get all the stuff we needed, but over time, it proved to be the exact wrong way to do it. We looked back on our decision with regret instead of pleasure.
Remember when you wanted that stuffed animal with the big eyes for your birthday last year? Now, it doesn’t mean quite so much to you, and you’re thinking about different things you want. That’s what Solomon was saying. Those things have a way of losing their importance. What really lasts and brings true joy is a good relationship with God. By keeping Solomon’s conclusion handy in your thoughts, you will have a valuable tool for making better decisions now so that you’ll have fewer regrets later on.
Older kids: Let your grandchild be King Solomon for the morning. While he or she lounges on the couch in your favorite bathrobe, you can make coin-sized pancakes. Illustrate the point that material possessions have a way of becoming overwhelming by continually surrounding their space on the couch with books, toys, maybe a few cans of food from the pantry, a pile of clothes, etc. Talk about how his future life will look if he accumulates too much of a good thing. Before the pancakes are eaten, let him stand on a chair and deliver Ecclesiastes 12:13 as if he were making a kingly speech: “Now all has been heard; this is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”
Younger kids: Eat coin-sized pancakes with your grandchild and ask what she would buy if she were the richest person on earth, like Solomon. Let the disappearing pancakes serve as a visual as to how quickly the money can be spent and gone!
Any age: Create your own simple sign language version of the verse. Hand motions make memorization much easier!
Video the kingly speech of your grandchild and add it to your family’s YouTube channel, or take lots of pictures for a 66 Verses Photo Book.
Encouraging intentional adventure with your sweet grandkids through the pages of God’s word,
PS: I’ll show my granddaughter this picture of her mom as a little girl, hoarding her stuffed animals on the couch at naptime. She still likes being surrounded by friends!