Ecclesiastes 3:1-11, 14, 17
1 For everything there is an appointed time, and an appropriate time for every activity on earth: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot what was 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 throw away stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 A time to search, and a time to give something up as lost; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; 7 A time to rip, and a time to sew; a time to keep silent, and a time to speak. 8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. 9 What benefit can a worker gain from his toil? 10 I have observed the burden that God has given to people to keep them occupied. 11 God has made everything fit beautifully in its appropriate time, but he has also placed ignorance in the human heart so that people cannot discover what God has ordained, from the beginning to the end of their lives. 14 I also know that whatever God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken away from it. God has made it this way, so that men will fear him. 17 I thought to myself, “God will judge both the righteous and the wicked; for there is an appropriate time for every activity, and there is a time of judgment for every deed.”
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the LORD is.”
I always feel like there is not enough time in a day. God, outside time, has placed us within a capsule of time, which we cannot escape while on this earth. In His perfect wisdom, He knew we needed time. Last week we explored from Solomon’s heart the purpose of monotony. This week I tackle my enemy: time.
Why my enemy, you say? Time is my taskmaster and I am forever late! I set out to conquer my day well for the LORD’s glory, but I am encumbered by multiple interruptions and a “to do” list which is never fully accomplished. How can this futility be of God? Time humbles us – we have an end. We are finite, we cannot take for granted each moment we are given. Time causes us to set goals, lest we never achieve what we were placed here for. Time reminds us of our place in creation. Our Creator lets us steward the gift of time, and we are held accountable for it. It is ours and it is not ours – we are living on borrowed time.
Time creates within me a reverence and awe of God. Living in this fear of the LORD can help me to number my days well for Him. God cares about how we use time. Managing time is difficult, much like managing finances or other behaviors, but at the root of all that we steward is the question – will we be faithful with what we have been given? I confess that I can be too busy for my own good. Overwhelmed by life’s demands, prioritizing can be a difficult occupation. That is when I realize things left undone is often victory, after all. Putting God first sets my day in order and what I cannot complete was either not meant to be done in that space of time, or God will provide another opportunity for it to be done. That is a tough truth for me to accept, but I am just a vessel and trust God’s wisdom in giving us 24 hours in a day, 365 days and 4 seasons in a year.
When I am in a season that is particularly difficult and feel I am wasting time and not accomplishing much, I ask God to help me see through His eyes. Taking care of a hurting child is more important than tasks that are always there to be done. Being sick might prevent me from completing something I deem more important, but simultaneously achieving character and something God deems as more valuable within me. If I cease from all of my striving and look at the wall my ladder is leaned up against, I see that time is a servant to me if I use it wisely. Time is given that we might gain a heart of wisdom and walk with God’s purpose for our lives.
It is difficult to always be disciplined and living on purpose. I fall short – I can be lazy and would rather just let my sails fill with the breeze God sends my way then try to plan. Both are aspects of the life hidden in Christ – He directs our course but expects us to be diligent within that course. I am reminded in Psalm 127:2, that God has enough time in the day and that he also makes time for us to rest in our busy lives. He made sleep a part of each day. He knows we are just dust. As we surrender our planners over to Him and ask Him to help us live His purpose each day, moment by moment, perhaps we can understand the purpose of time in our lives. It will not always make sense to us in each stitch of time, but the Master quilter sees the complete design.
Lord, You are Sovereign! You are the Master Designer and make all things beautiful in Your time. I surrender my life to you, moment by moment, day by day. Be glorified in me and help me to use the time You have given wisely and live a life that brings You honor.