One of the most quoted Verses from Ecclesiastes comes from Chapter 3 where time is the subject. As illustrated in the first Verse: "There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens.”
A time and a season for everything. I have found that there are definite seasons in life. Solomon unpacks all the seasons and times that will happen during a lifetime. He reminds us that there will be positive and negative moments in our seasons, and those will always be there.
There is a strain of Christianity that likes to spin everything in the positive realm of faith. That spin does not allow the negative to be present because that would mean your faith is weak and ineffective. Yet, Solomon says there is a time and season for all activity in your life. There is a time of birth, a time of death, a time of sowing, a time of harvesting, a time of sorrow, a time of happiness … all explain what it means to be human. There is just as much value in the failures of life, as there is in the successes of life. Solomon then asks the question, “What does the worker gain from his struggles?” His response:
Ecclesiastes 3:11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.
The seasons of life with both positive and negative events keep us balanced and purposed in trusting God. No one knows all the things that God has in mind for our lives, so He puts us through the paces of all the seasons. What are the purposes of the seasons? To help us understand the depth and breadth of living as a human. No person is an island where nothing ever goes wrong, you never get old, and you never fail at anything you ever do. All of life has its moments of testing, helping you to know where your source is in navigating the seasons. All seasons are appropriate as Solomon writes, and in the end, you become what the Apostle Paul says will happen:
2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.
Seasons are to be enjoyed and endured, and through it all, educate us in testing character, resolve, and building our faith in God. I find it interesting that Solomon adds the idea of God putting eternity into our hearts. Are the seasons of life only for our stay on earth, or is there a bigger picture in eternity?
One of the treasures of truth that God never changes is found in Ecclesiastes. People will say that God no longer needs certain gifts in the body because they are no longer needed or useful. Yet, Ecclesiastes contradicts that thinking:
Ecclesiastes 3:14 And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear him.
For even more clarification the Amplified Bible says it this way, “I know that whatever God does, it endures forever; nothing can be added to it nor can anything be taken from it, for God does it so that men will fear and worship Him with awe-filled reverence, knowing that He is God.”
The idea here is that God never changes … what He has set in motion stays in motion. If anything, God doesn’t remove anything, He just fulfills the previous with something better. He fulfills the Law with Grace … the Law isn’t removed, just fulfilled.
Solomon concludes his theme on time and seasons with two thoughts:
1. There is injustice in the courts of man, and the chances of unrighteousness happening in the place of justice are possible.
2. All flesh returns to dust, all die and we return to the origins of our birth.
Once again … seasons of our lives. Will we find justice on earth? It’s questionable. There are too many factors of greed, corruption, and evil to be assured that justice will be found on earth. We know that all accounts of justice will one day be applied when Jesus returns to rule on earth. Death is imminent to all who live. We are all given a season of life, limited to circumstances, foolishness, and chance. Some are reckless and die early, others are in the wrong place at the wrong time, and still others live to become a century old. Yet, death comes to all.
Personally, I think death is a great reminder of our limited season here on earth. Funerals are always a reminder that eternity for any of us is just a breath away. Death is a passage from one world to the next, and then our season begins for eternity either with God or without Him. Judgment will come following death. This will be a time when we discover how well we did in living out our seasons on earth. God will judge those seasons. We will also face the judgment of heaven or hell … that comes down to what we did with the message of Jesus. Did we believe in Him, live for Him, and die for Him? These penetrating questions will be the defining moment for gaining or losing the promise of living with God for eternity. That question is the most critical in life, “What did I do with Jesus?” You are the captain of your destiny … making the right decisions in life is up to you, no one else. The decision to accept Jesus as Savior is the most important decision you will ever make because eternity is forever … it is an everlasting season without God.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler