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There Is A Time For Everything

by David Johnson

IMG_0666(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)


It is good to be together again as we look into the Word of God. The lesson is entitled “There is a Time for Everything.” The text in the Old Testament, the book of Ecclesiastes chapter three verses one through 11. Listen to the text from the Word of God. ‘There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven; a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity into the hearts of men, yet they cannot fathom what God has done from the beginning to end.’ This is the Word of God.

Years ago I visited a dear widowed Christian lady in the twilight of her life, but she, of course, still had time on this earth. She claimed that her time passed ever so slowly. She would sit and watch and listen to her grandfather clock tick her time away, waiting to go to bed, waiting to die every single day. So sad. Yes, eventually we do all slow down, yet we should all strive to make the best of our time, not to waste our precious time.

It was Benjamin Franklin who said, ‘Time is the stuff of life, the stuff of life that is made, so don’t squander it.’ God is the sovereign time keeper. God alone is not bound by time. God is outside of time. However, mankind is inside of time. It is up to us to make our time count in a meaningful way.
Solomon, according to the wisdom of God, realized and observed that there is a time for everything, every activity under heaven. Earthly activities are good in their proper place and time, but unprofitable when the temporary, when the transitory is all there is to our lives. That is, without including God, without including eternity, without the perspective of a timeless future, activities alone, even time alone without God can eventually lead to a life that is monotonous and meaningless. May this never be for the maturing believer.
Solomon sought wisdom for a well spent life. Solomon cataloged, listed the many activities we all usually spend time in though our time under heaven, because there is a time for everything, wisdom from Solomon by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that is imparted to us also today.   For example, in Ecclesiastes chapter one and verse two it says, in part: ‘A time to be born and a time to die.’ Solomon begins with the two bookends of this life under heaven. Our sovereign God over time has made these appointments, birth and death in advance. It is the time in between these appointments of birth and death that is up to us. It is the dash on the tombstone that is the substance of our lives under heaven. It is not the crib nor the casket, but the content of our time. As believers, we need to make it count for our Lord and for others. That is time best spent.

In verse three it says, in part: ‘A time to tear down and a time to build.’ Even a structure or a building decays, dies, in a sense. And a time comes to tear it down before it falls down. There is also time to build something new to replace the old or new altogether. In a different sense we need to tear down walls that separate us from God and from others, tear down fears and doubts that hinder us and build up precious relationships beginning with God, build up our spouses, build up our children, our grandchildren, not tear them down.

Then in verse four, it says in part: ‘A time to weep and a time to laugh.’ According to the gospel of John chapter 11 and verse 35 it simply tells us: ‘Jesus wept.’ There is a time to allow our emotions to flow, to be released, true to the circumstances. Often it is our tears over time that teach us the most. Also times to laugh, even laugh out loud, laugh at ourselves inwardly. Having a sense of humor can teach us also not to be too hard on others or even ourselves. Yet, it is better to weep regarding our sins, regarding our shortcomings than to laugh them off. God sees all and knows all.

In Proverbs chapter 31 and verse 25 here we have what is written of the wife of noble character that says she can laugh at the days to come, probably in context here because she used her time wisely. This wife of noble character was not idle. She was not lazy. Her time was not mis-spent. She was not allowing her time to simply tick away. She was active, engaged, involved as best she could in her family. She even took the time to laugh at her future. Laughter is great for the soul.

In verse five it says a time to embrace and a time to refrain. People in the Middle East were and are big on openly showing their affections, often greeting with kisses and hugs when they meet and when they depart. To refrain here might mean, as we would say today in America, a time to say hello, embrace and a time to say goodbye, refrain. Whatever the place or time, we certainly need more hugs and less snubs.
In verse six it says there is a time to keep and a time to throw away. Years ago I owned an old Ford Bronco that had gotten noisy. So I took it to a muffler shop. They put it on the rack and with the hydraulic lift, lifted it up and with a little shake to stop the lift it was up. But then it came crashing down in an instant. That is, the old muffler and part of the corroded tail pipe came crashing down. You see, I had kept that muffler a long time, but then it was time to throw it away. I looked over at the mechanic and said: ‘Do I get a discount for less labor?’ I also said: ‘Well, I wanted to get my money’s worth on that old muffler. Looks like I got it to the very second.’ Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all things in this life under heaven happened exactly when we wanted them to? Yet, it is our sovereign God who decides in advance the time for everything. Part of the secret to the peace of God is to accept and even appreciate God’s perfect timing, because God does all things well, very well.

Then in verse seven it says there is a time to tear and a time to mend. Here, probably, this is a reference to the Jewish custom to tear one’s clothes due to great grief or deep repentance. All of us need times of heartfelt repentance to mend our fellowship with our God or to mend other relationships as with our spouses, other family members, church members, friends and the like. The longer we wait to reconcile, usually the harder it is to mend those relationships.

In verse eight it says there is a time to love and a time to hate. Solomon closed his list of opposites in time by referring to life’s two basic emotions: love and hate, with two corresponding realities under heaven, of war and peace. Love toward God, love toward family, love toward friends, all of these are so very important, but is there anything under heaven to hate? Yes, there is. According to the book of Psalms chapter 97 and verse 10 it says, let those who love—that is, as believers—love the Lord, but hate evil, hate our archenemy, Satan, who is always at war with believers and desires to take away our peace. And we should hate evil, hate sin as God hates evil and sin.

In verse 11 it says He has made everything beautiful in its time. And so God’s timing is always perfect, because he is a perfect God and never ever does God make mistakes. So every activity, every event, every issue in this life under heaven has an ending eventually, has a culmination point, has a climax depending on the circumstances. And ultimately it is all under God’s control. God is sovereign and that includes our time, our existence on this earth. God does all things well, even very well and, therefore, it is beautiful in its time.

It is interesting that beautiful, the word in English, beautiful, here in the original Hebrew language and context means fittingly, appropriately, well accomplished, because even in our God-cursed existence on this earth, because of our sin, mankind’s activity still should not be meaningless. It should not be without value. We need to include God in our lives and in our every activity in the events of our lives to give our lives real meaning, to give our lives value.

And then also in verse 11 it says He has set eternity in the hearts of men. God has made mankind for his eternal purpose, for his eternal glory. We choose to receive or reject God. God is not threatened in his sovereignty by giving us a choice. We choose to receive or reject God and his purpose for us and meaning for us in him and we can recognize that we are valuable and precious to our creator and we need to share these two truths, that we can have purpose, that we can have meaning in the Lord, share these two truths of Ecclesiastes chapter three and verse 11 with others, because there is a time for everything and that time includes our witnessing, even our worshipping our Lord and our God by sharing with others that we, human beings, are the pinnacle, the crown of God’s creation. And then all of us are being conformed to the image of his Son or should be being conformed to the image of his Son as we receive today Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and Lord and to recognize that we do have eternal value, eternal meaning and that we can have a timeless future with God with our Lord into eternity and that we can share this with others.


David Johnson is minister of the Sellersburg Church of Christ, Sellersburg, IN.

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If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Romans 14:8