Day 5: To everything there is a season (3:1)
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (3:1)
“A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace” (3:2-8).
Today we consider the Preacher’s proposition: “Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses” (3:1 GNT). Tomorrow we consider its implications. For now, let’s reflect on the declaration there is a time to do this and a time to do that, where “this” and “that” are polar opposites and there are 14 very different pairs of “this” and “that” examples. Before we consider each pair in turn, it is worth reflecting that life under the sun is time bound and the older we get the more we may notice how time does fly and how often we do not make best use of time, and often what we do or don’t do is dictated by life’s circumstances. Our challenge is to make best use of the short time we have and wise up as to when we should do something or, in the light of these examples, the opposite, although, also in the light of these examples, we don’t always have a choice in the matter.
- That we are born and die are facts of life, applying to us all, we can’t change.
- As much as we may want to reap a harvest, before that we need to sow a seed.
- We are likely agreed healing is a needful thing, but killing may be inevitable.
- We build, including on what is there, but sometimes we have to first tear down.
- A fact of life is things happen to bring us sorrow, as much as brings us joy.
- Continuing on … some things give rise to mourning but some to dancing.
- Stones may be materials used for building, or impediments to soil fertility?
- Making love is one of the great pleasures of life, but often we must refrain.
- Gaining and losing are facts of life, either done through choice or imposed.
- Similarly – when it comes to saving or throwing away what we have.
- Similarly – when it comes to tearing up what we have or mending it.
- The biggie for many of us … knowing when to speak and when to be silent.
- While love should be what defines us, we are also called to hate what is evil.
- Peace is better than war; let’s work for peace, but war may be unavoidable.
Prayer: We thank you Lord that all that happens in this world happens in your perfect time. Forgive us for wasting time or doing the wrong things in the time you give us. Help us to find the right time to do the right thing and honour you.