In today’s society life is a matter of timing. How many clocks and how many calendars do you have in your home, office and vehicles? We wear watches on our wrists, have the time displayed on our iPods, phones and laptops. We are always aware of the time. When daylight savings time occurs, I groan to think of the time it takes to change the clocks in the house – they’re everywhere!
In today’s reading, we see in Ecclesiastes 3:1 that there is an appointed time for everything and a time for every event under heaven. When reading this chapter, we find that time is mentioned about 30 times before verse 8! It must be the key to this passage.
I take great comfort in the fact that every event in our lives is appointed, it’s not random. God has a purpose in each one of them. It seems that under God’s calendar, appropriate timing is everything.
There are twenty-eight statements made between verses 2-8. Fourteen of them are negative, fourteen are positive. For every negative, there is a positive truth in scripture, and in life.
God has appointed the time and date for our birth and our death. They are not a surprise to God. God is sovereign over time, but we are subject to it. It almost seems that we’re born, then we start our journey toward the grave. Our time on earth is fleeting – a vapor according to scripture.
Some other thoughts on the rest of this chapter: Sorrow and joy are both a part of life; we couldn’t fathom the joy if we hadn’t known the days of weeping. Is it possible to thank God and worship Him in the seasons of life? Is it possible to find joy in the midst of heartache, sickness or pain? Can we remain close to God in the midst of the turmoil of life? If not, then I’m afraid that our faith is in vain.
I’m also happy to learn that God does like garage sales! Verse 6 tells us that there is a time to keep and a time to clean out and simplify. Our possessions are temporal.
In verse 7 we find that there is a time to keep your mouth shut! How much turmoil in our lives could we avoid by thinking before we speak. Timing is everything!
There is much to learn from this chapter and as we prepare for our Fourth of July celebrations, I think that the last half of verse 8 – the time for peace and the time for war – is especially meaningful. I think of my Sunday mornings of worship at CCC and thank God again for America and those who have sacrificed their lives to preserve that freedom. My thoughts go to the young men and women who stand in many places around this world facing danger every day to preserve this freedom. I especially love the fact that my country is “the home of the brave and the land of the free.” I don’t like war, but war is a fact of life on this planet until Jesus Christ sets up His kingdom.
I also love the fact that verse 11 states that God has put eternity in our hearts. Knowing this gives purpose to our lives. We know that this world is not all there is.
Finally, the writer has challenged us to enjoy what God has given us in this life and to trust the fact that God does everything well, we can’t add to it or take away from it – it will remain forever. It makes me to understand that life here is temporary – contrast that with the never changing, eternal God! Some day, time as we know it will be no more, eternity resumes. Man’s stint in the realm of time has ended. Timing is everything!