Do not say, “Why were the former days better than these?” For you do not inquire wisely concerning this. (Ecclesiastes 7:10, N.K.J.V.)
Most of us have a tendency to pine for earlier days in our lives. I myself have a couple of time periods that I would thoroughly enjoy revisiting. One of them constitutes the years of my youth, those days when I didn’t have a care in the world other than that pesky business called school. The other one constitutes those years when my two sons, Ryan and Royce, were little fellows. I guess you might say what ties my two time periods together is the theme of little boys getting to be little boys.
It is interesting, however, that our text verse instructs us not to think of the so-called “good old days” as being better than the current ones. We’re not to ask, “Why were the former days better than these?” Solomon says, “When you ask such a question, you aren’t inquiring wisely.” In other words, you aren’t thinking straight if you think the former days were better than the ones you are experiencing now.
Let me use my own life as an illustration. Do you know why God would never classify those days of my youth as being better than the days I’m living now? It’s because I am serving Him so much more prolifically now. Back then, my service pretty much amounted to going to church, doing a little praying, and reading my Children’s Living Bible when the mood struck me. That was it. I certainly wasn’t preaching sermons and serving as the pastor of a church.
The same can be said of those years when Ryan and Royce were very young. Yes, I was preaching and serving as a pastor at that time, but I wasn’t writing blog posts, didn’t have my sermons on You Tube, and didn’t have a radio ministry on four national stations. Therefore, from God’s perspective, my current days are better than those previous ones because I’m reaching a lot more people now than I was back then. Consequently, I’m earning more rewards, eternal rewards, for my efforts.
Speaking more practically, the benefits of machinery and technology that I currently enjoy are way better than any previous days I’ve known. The house of my youth didn’t have central air-conditioning, but the house I’m currently living in does. I had a push mower to mow the yard of that place, but now I have a riding mower. I used to be happy if channel 3 (CBS), channel 4 (NBC), and channel 13 (ABC) were coming in clear, but now I have hundreds of crystal-clear channels through Dish Network. If I had to miss a television show back then, well, that was just my tough luck. Now I have a DVR, which is even better than my VCRs that came before it. Leftover food used to be eaten cold out of necessity, but now I have this thing called a microwave. A bicycle or a motorcycle used to be my only means for independent transportation, but now I have my own car. Oh, and did I mention this modern marvel called the internet? It sure is better than that World Book Encyclopedia set my mom and dad paid good money to buy.
Getting back to those days when Tonya and I were raising our two little ones, as wonderful as those days were, we are now enjoying blessings they never provided. For example, Ryan is a college graduate who is now fully employed as a p.e. teacher/coach at one of our county’s local schools. He has grown into a fine young man. As for Royce, he just completed the courses for his two-year Associates degree at the local community college and will be graduating from there in a few days. This fall he’ll begin his classes at a local university in order to earn his four-year Bachelor’s degree. During their younger days, Tonya and I could only hope and pray that the boys would turn out as well as they have. The accomplishments they’ve already locked away remind me of another verse from Proverbs, one that comes just before our text verse. I’m talking about Proverbs 7:8, which says: “The end of a thing is better than its beginning…” (N.K.J.V.).
You see, the key to you fully appreciating your current days is simple: You must focus on everything that is BETTER now rather than focusing upon everything that is WORSE now. It really is all a matter of perspective. One writer has even said that if we live long enough, we might very well look back upon the days we are experiencing now and think of them as the good old days. Wouldn’t that be an ironic twist? Regardless of what happens in the future, what is certain is that we can find plenty of blessings in what is going on right now if we will only look for them. Trust me, they really are there. You just have to get your mind off that romanticized, idealized past of yours and start recognizing all the things that are better now than they were back then.