The following sermon was preached by Pastor Chad Bates on Sunday morning April 27, 2014
Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 (KJV)
1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is 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 cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. 9 What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth? 10 I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. 11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. 12 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. 13 And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.
Time, time, time... It's not as though we need to be reminded that time is swiftly passing us as we rush towards eternity; or is it that we do in fact need to be reminded that time is our ever lurking enemy. We find here in our reading of the scriptures this morining as we consider verses 12-13 that time or... living is a gift from God. Not only in the obvious manner such as we have breath, or that our hearts beat... but rather that we simply exist.
We know that Solomon was a man that was constantly intrigued and even captivated with the surroundings of life... and in his ponderings he has given to the people of God a list of sorts of things that will most probably affect every single person who ever walks upon this earth. And in all of this he suggests to us that we should be cheerfully content with what God has given us. We learn here that we are living in a world of changes and though one person may be enjoying the blessings of life another may be passing through one of many storms of this life... Only to one day realize that at any moment we could be in better or worse circumstances.
It is not in our power to change what is appointed us within God's will for our lives. To everything there is a season... Each experience takes its turn. The day will give place to the night again to the day. Is it Spring? Then rest assured that shortly it will be winter again. The clearest sky can soon become darkened with stormy clouds... And the darkest clouds can give way to the sunlight.
Notice that it is said in verse 1 There is a time to be born...and a time to die, yet there is no time to live mentioned here... maybe it's not worth mentioning because it is so short. The moment we are born we begin to die and decay. In fact life is explained in God's word as being but a vapor.
There is one thing that is certain, time and experiances alter us. There are some things that we go through that forever alter us, some of these things are for our betterment but many things drain us of our liveliness and ferver. But Jesus has said in John10:10 "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
We are reminded this morning that many things may be our lot and most without our control. Lets look at these things mentioned... v.2-8.
But as we approach verses 9-10 we see a question put to us... "What profit hath he"...
"What can a man promise himself from planting and building, when that which he thinks is settled and secure could so swiftly be plucked up and broken down?" The experiences of life is not there to govern our happiness, but rather to point us to a loving Creator who will be our comfort and stay no matter the circumstances in our lives... The trials of life are there to show us where our dependence on God truly lays. There is a great deal of trouble to be seen among the children of men. Toil and sorrow fill the world. This trouble is what God has allotted us. He never intended this world for our rest, and therefore never appointed us to take our ease in it. This travail is given to us to make us weary of the world and desirous of the remaining rest.
"Though we see not the complete beauty of Providence, yet we shall see it, and a glorious sight it will be, when the mystery of God shall be finished. Then every thing shall appear to have been done in the most proper time and it will be the wonder of eternity"
God has not left Himself without witness in this world... but my many undeniable proofs have placed many evidence in this world and so there is set in man's heart a seeking of something more.
Our concluding thoughts are gathered from verses 12-13... All that is good and right in this life is God's gift. Time is God's gift, and though there be struggles, loss, seperation and much sorrow, we cannot pine away this gift that God has given us.
Time is the most valuable thing known to man. Be it far from us to reach the end of our days and realize that ol' Slewfoot has robbed us of our time and therefore he has stripped us of life. We only have a few days with our children and we had better use them wisely... for living is not houses or cars or hobbies or clothing. Living is what we do with our time.