There is a time for everything


Scripture: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NIV

There is a time for everything, 

       and a season for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die, 

       a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal, 

       a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh, 

       a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, 

       a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

 a time to search and a time to give up, 

       a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend, 

       a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate, 

       a time for war and a time for peace.


Observation:

Now if you where following the Dallas Cowboys fortunes (or misfortunes) as closely as the Sports media you would find today’s scripture especially timely. Many are calling for a housecleaning and firing or at least some visible change that would show that someone is in charge and will not let the “carnage” continue. Unfortunately with life we get just the opposite. Much like our scripture tells us there is an appropriate time for all of life’s experiences and for the Cowboy’s and her fans that time is still coming.

That is what we find in this life – that there is an appropriate time for everything, the unpleasant as well as the pleasant. If we are not careful this is how most of us would describe life; but it is more than that – it is what God sends into our lives.

I don’t know if you are familiar with the Four Spiritual Laws (it is a Campus Crusade for Christ plan of salvation methodology) but the first is that God loves you and has a plan for your life. Looking carefully at these verses we can see very clearly what that plan is. Most of us see Ecclesiastes as a book of gloom and doom because the writer had a limited view of the visible things of life. But God desires to bring joy into human the experience and he uses these opposites as part of His plan.


Application:
There are three major divisions in these eight verses that correspond to our humanity: body, soul and spirit. The first four pairs deal with the body: a time to be born and a time to die. None of us asked to be born – it was something done to us and none of us asks to die; it is something God determines. So because of the choice made by Adam and Eve the first opposites are the consequences – a boundary of birth and death.

The second pairing moves into the realm of the soul with its functions; thinking, feeling, and choosing. These verses deal with the interrelationships of the social areas of our lives. A time to weep, a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance; all these are closely related and are appropriate at different times in our lives. In a fallen world there will be times of hurt, sorrow and happiness and no one is going to escape their presence.

The last of the six pairings relate to the spirit; the inner decisions and commitments. The writer says there is a time to search; for work, marriage and new friends and even a time to give up. I think there comes a time in life when we should curtail certain friendships or change jobs and lose what we had in the past, especially when it hampers our future. It’s both proper and appropriate.

The problem is that this is not our plan for our life. If we were given the right to plan our lives we would have no unpleasantness at all – or at least I wouldn’t! But that would ruin us. God knows that people who are protected from everything almost invariably end up being impossible to live with; they are selfish, cruel, vicious, shallow and unprincipled. God sends these things into our lives so that we can be taught.

Most of our conflicts and difficulties come from trying to deal with the spiritual and practical aspects of our life separately instead of realizing that they are parts of one whole. If our practical life is centered on our own interests, cluttered up by processions, distracted by ambitions, passions, wants and worries, weighed down by a sense of our own rights and importance or anxieties for our own future or longings for success then we can expect our spiritual lives to be the same way. A spiritual life is simply a life in which all that we do comes from where we are anchored in God.

God’s plan is for you to live a life soaked through and through by a sense of His reality and claim and be given over to the movement of His will in your life.

Are you learning to see God’s direction and providence in the contrasting experiences of your life?

Prayer:

Jesus, we look to Thee, Thy promised presence claim;
Thou in the midst of us shall be, Assembled in Thy Name.
Thy Name salvation is, Which here we come to prove;
Thy Name is life, and health, and peace, And everlasting love. Amen.