Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth. Every time I read those words from Ecclesiastes 12:1, the voice of Dr. Christian Adjemian rings through my mind.
Sixteen years ago, one sultry summer night, I sat with some three-hundred others from our presbytery in the chapel atop the hill at Johnson Bible College outside of Knoxville, Tennessee. I had completed high school and in a few short weeks would begin my studies at Purdue University. Dr. Adjemian had spoken on the book of Ecclesiastes that week at the Covfamikoi Family Conference, and the conference theme was A Time for Living. In the consecration service on the last night, Dr. Adjemian pled with the young people in particular that we remember our Creator in the days of our youth. Being the outdoorsman he was, he illustrated the necessity of taking such care in our youth by comparing life to canoeing across a large lake. If the traveler’s bearings are off even slightly as he begins his journey, he will end his journey far from his intended destination – and perhaps never reach safety. And so, he urged us to fix our eyes on Jesus at the beginning of our journey and continue recalibrating our trajectory through life so that Christ remained the object of our pursuit.
Yesterday, we learned that Dr. Adjemian reached the other side of the lake. He had served as pastor in two Reformed Presbyterian congregations and most recently as Dean and Professor of Biblical Studies at the Farel Reformed Theological Seminary in Montréal. After battling ALS (commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) for several years, the Lord took him home.
I did not know him well, but on that night many years ago, I heard the voice of God through his voice. My friends and I are all sixteen years farther across the lake, and we are in many different places, both physically and spiritually. Dr. Adjemian’s time for dying is an occasion that compels all of us who heard him that night to give thanks for his life, pray for his family and friends, and recalibrate our own aim in our time for living.
“Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them” …The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:1, 13-14 (ESV).