Updated: Oct 9, 2022
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; 3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7 a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace
Macbeth Act 5 Scene 5 There would have been a time for such a word. Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day To the last syllable of recorded time, And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more: it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.
We see in this quote from Shakespeare’s Macbeth that the theme of Ecclesiastes is felt and expressed by all men in all of history. For fallen sinful human beings life is hard. It often starts that way and remains so. When we accept Christ as Savior then the world at large (the powers and principalities visible and invisible) perceives our counter cultural life. As a result life can and usually does become difficult even unto death for many Christians in our world.
We travel through his dysfunctional world from birth to death as strangers and misfits. Understanding life is elusive, perplexing as it slips through our fingers and then it is over.
Ecclesiastes presents bad theology up front and concludes that life without God is meaningless!! Ecclesiastes is not a model for living but a wakeup call to those who pursue happiness and meaning on this earth in this life. Humans have always favored distraction and diversion over the hard and difficult realities of life. Our age today provides limitless distraction to the point of uselessness and death. People today can choose to waste their life with ease and are assisted in doing so by many things and many people.
We are wise to respect times rhythms of dawn, morning, afternoon, evening, night. Six days to work, one day to rest which makes a week, which becomes a month, and the months turn into years.
You cannot leverage or master the time bound circumstances of life to your advantage. It will not happen. No matter how clever or smart, no matter your income or your popularity (on Facebook or elsewhere), no matter your achievements NOTHING will make you happy. Our lives are part of a huge story and we only see a small part of it. God sees the beginning from the end and he operates outside of the time that constrains us. David Gibson in his book Living Life Backwards says, “Your life is on loan for a short while and one day God will call time and take it back.”
It is vital that you understand that your life is made up of seasons. There is a time for everything and once it is gone you cannot relive it or recreate it. We are time bound and if we are living with despair and difficulty God is ready to help. Only God knows where all the pieces of your life go.