Ecclesiastes 3:1–8, There is a season.
There is a time…and there is not a time
There is a time and season for everything. That sounds like an innocuously bland and self-evident statement, but not really.
There is a time do to things, as the wise preacher informs us in his famous Ecclesiastes three passage, which begins with the famous words, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die…” and so on.
But the more the years and decades slide past me and am not in the grandparenting season of my life, the more I realize that there is, perhaps, more importantly, a time not to do a lot of things that I might have done at an earlier time in my life. There are battles not to fight, things not to thing (for a Scripture declares elsewhere, “As a man thinketh, so is he”—a scary thought!) things not to do, and definitely things not to say. There are several reasons that immediately come to mind for not doing these things.
First, and, perhaps, most importantly, it’s about priorities. As one reaches the top of the hill of one’s life and begins the descent on the other side toward death, one can see more circumspectly one’s past life as well as that which remains whether it be a long or a short time. With the stark reality of one’s life in full view and the idealizations of past expectations unfulfilled gone like dust in the wind, that which remains in one’s life suddenly becomes as valued treasure. Add to this the unexpected deaths of loved ones and friends around you, which, to any young people reading this, occurs more frequently the older one gets, suddenly, every breath and heartbeat becomes a cherished gift from the Creator.
The second reason for not doing or saying many things that I might have in earlier years has to do with following the leading of the Set-Apart Spirit of Elohim more precisely instead of jumping unquestioningly in lockstep to the demanding impulses of my impatient, impetuous and sin-oriented flesh. This too has to do with priorities—desiring to be in the perfect will of the Almighty by seeking first the kingdom of Elohim as Yeshua instructed his disciples to do instead of seeking all those other carnal and earthly things.
The third reason for adding the negative adverb not to the statements in Solomon’s famous Ecclesiastes three passage is that the older one gets, one starts getting a little more tired if not physically, at least emotionally from chasing the wind and ending up with little or nothing to show for it. Many things become, as the Preacher in Ecclesiastes definitively declares repeatedly, is vanity of vanities. Suddenly one wakes up and discovers the wisdom of working smarter, instead of harder. This is wisdom, which only comes with age and perspective. It’s wise to conserve energy and to save it for those things that are worth the time and effort, and for which there is a payoff especially in the next life. All else is little more than emptiness and chasing the wind.
Fourth, so much of what we do and say is an expression of human pride and vanity. We are all guilty, so raise your hand. I’ve got mine up! As I get older, I agree with the preacher’s words in Ecclesiastes verse two of chapter one, “‘Vanity of vanities,’ says the Preacher; ‘Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” When one gets brutally honest with oneself and analyses most of one’s words and actions, human pride and vanity is the pathetic though realistic label that must be applied to most of it. So what does the Almighty have to say about this? What reasons will we give to him on judgment day as to the motives behind most of what we have said and done? What legacy of value are we really leaving to the next generation? Will we be leaving behind a grandiose frozen-in-time, stone cold and lifeless monument to ourselves, or will we have sown seeds into the fertile ground of the lives of those around us that will hopefully bring forth fruit that will not only make the world a better place, but that will also serve to expand the kingdom of Elohim at the expense of the kingdom of darkness?Continue reading