WHAT TIME IS IT FOR YOU? Ecclesiastes 3:1-13
For the past month we have focused on the beauty and majesty of the story of the birth of Christ. Themes included peace, joy, love, serenity, wonder. Matthew reminds us immediately that all is not well in the world.
Matthew 2:13-23 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.” But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene.
In only a paragraph on the page we have gone from singing Silent Night to Fearful Night. From a time of wonder to a time of terror. We know this from our own lives and from observing the world, but there is both wonder and terror even today. Would our little holy family be safe in today’s world? In Aleppo? In Syria? On the West Bank? Would we find them in a family shelter in America? Their struggle and ours today raises same questions. Wondering why these things have to be? Trying to reconcile the rule of God with the existence of evil? Desiring to cure the hurts and at the same time realizing it is out of our hands?
As we mark our New Year and make resolutions for ourselves we realize that there is no perfect scenario for the plans we make even today. The unplanned and unexpected keep us out of kilter. We need Divine Help for each day. What if we could ask a man who was given wisdom by God … what would he tell us?
1. There Is A Time For Everything
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what 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 seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, 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 for war, and a time for peace.
These familiar words remind us Life is made up of a wide variety of experiences. Some exhilarating and some painful. I don’t know what season you are in at this time, but
it is no surprise that these seasons come upon us.The wisdom of Solomon reminds us that there is no one who is immune to the beauty and pain of life. The echoes of God’s goodness can be seen in the planting, building, celebrating, accepting, remembering, being open-hearted, and forgiving. As a result of sin and the Enemy’s work there is also
death, killing, sadness, loss, brokenness and hate.
Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned
Where is the goodness of God in our time?
Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
He manages to make all things beautiful. God redeems the work of an evil Herod and turns it into fulfillment of prophecy. Because of Herod we have our Nazarene. What painful moments will he use in yours? He gives us an eternal perspective. Everything not about what’s happening right now. Everything about where we will spend our eternity. He leaves us with questions.
What Time Is It For You?
Bible stories remind us of the importance of paying attention to our time. Among David’s Army were men “from Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chronicles 12:32). Esther in place in a tragic circumstance so she could be present “for such a time as this”. In the fullness of time Christ came to this earth.
So What about your time? Is it time to give your heart to Christ today? Is it time to act upon your faith in repentance/baptism? Is it time for you to stop letting the world set your agenda and letting God set it instead? Is it time for the church – the blood-bought bride of Christ – be as important to you as it is to Him? Is it time for you to finally get your nose in the Word? Is it time to lead your family in the ways of Christ? Is it time to see the hurting families in our community … to have mercy and to give of yourselves? Is it time to create the margin you need in your life to develop your prayer life… or will your spiritual life be marginalized due to neglect?
Hebrews 9:27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
Joseph, Mary and Jesus went from a Silent Night to Fearful Night as we read Matthew’s account. How do we face a life when there is a time for everything under the sun? The final observation by King Solomon in this text is in verse Ecclesiastes 3:12-13:
I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.
We find joy by serving God and giving our lives to Him. Jesus tells of a time when he will return and separate the sheep from the goats. The ones he expressed his greatest
pleasure with are those who took time to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, took care of the sick, visited the prisoner. Why?
Because each of these were representatives of HIM. (Matthew 35:31-46)
5. What time is it for you? We pray it is time for us all to find our joy in God and in serving Him.