Timing is important in everything we do. We have time on our wrist; we have time on our phones, we have calendars everywhere we look, walls, desk, computer, phone, journals, etc.
Most everything that we do revolves around time.
Whether it’s time management or procrastinating because we think there is plenty of time, timing is the difference between a good joke or a bad one. Timing is important at work, don’t ask for a raise after a reprimand. Timing is important at home, don’t ask a favor when the other party is angry. Timing is important in your Spiritual life as well; it is important to live your life with an awareness of Gods timing.
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 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. What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth? I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. 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. I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God. I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him. – Ecclesiastes 3:1-14
Three things to notice about Gods timing
1. Expect change
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; - Ecclesiastes 3:1-2
Solomon contrasts Birth with Death. It is important to remember that God sets the boundaries and times of every living thing, People, and Plants:
God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: - Acts 17:24-27
In the third verse we see a contrast between destructive and creative events:
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; - Ecclesiastes 3:3
There is a time to tear down walls that we have built up in our lives. Walls that were likely meant to protect us, but have now become the thing that isolates us. There is a time to tear down bad relationships as well, friendships that you cultivate are more important than you realize.
There is also a time to build up. A time to build up good relationships, relationships that encourage you in the Lord, and relationships that encourage you to spend time in his word. A time to build your relationship with the Lord by spending time in his word on a daily basis.
Next, we see a contrast with varying emotions:
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; - Ecclesiastes 3:4
Sorrow and joy are both a part of this life. They help define each other. You will experience both positive and negative emotions, Expect it! And learn to give thanks:
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
If you only give thanks in the “good” times, you won’t be giving thanks very much, and you certainly won’t be giving thanks in everything. Notice that we are commanded to give thanks “in” everything not “for” everything. Not everything in your life will cause you to want to give thanks, but we can give thanks while going through those things because we can cling to the promises of scripture.
In the next couple of verses, Solomon contrasts the nature of our possessions:
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; - Ecclesiastes 3:5-6
There is a time when it is okay to keep things, and then there is a time that we should clean house and get rid of some things. The self-storage industry in the United States is staggering. In 2017, the self-storage industry reported earnings of $37.5 Billion. That represents a lot of stuff that we could likely live without in our lives.
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:18
As Christians, we are supposed to be concentrating on eternal things, not on the temporary things that we spend most of our time thinking on.
There is also a time for mourning and a time for healing:
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; - Ecclesiastes 3:7
A time to rend is an Old Testament reference to the mourning of a loved one. When mourning for a loved one in the Old Testament, a person would tear their clothing (rent it), and they would keep silent until the time of mourning was passed. Mourning is an important part of the healing process, but it should be for a limited amount of time. It is also important to heal.
There is a time to love, and there is a time to hate:
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. – Ecclesiastes 3:8
We should learn to hate the things that the Lord hates as seen in Proverbs 6:16-19
- A proud look
- A lying tongue
- Hands that shed innocent blood
- A heart that deviseth wicked imaginations
- Feet that be swift in running to mischief
- A false witness that speaketh lies
- He that soweth discord among brethren
There is a time for peace, and there is a time for war. If you want peace, you must prepare for war. We won’t have any peace without the Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ. Even then he will bring a war before he sets up his kingdom of peace:
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. – Revelation 19:11-21
We are currently in the middle of a Spiritual battle:
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; - 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
Also see Ephesians 6:10-13 and Romans 7:15-25.
2. Accept your Limitations
Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. – Psalms 127:1-2
Solomon asks, What profit does your work have? If your work is done outside of the timing and outside of the will of God, the indication is that your work won’t be profitable at all. Sometimes even when we are working inside of Gods will and timing, it can seem as if our work isn’t profitable. That is because we seldom understand his purposes:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. – Isaiah 55:8-9
Our perspective is often wrong. We look at the outward appearance of a thing when God is looking on the heart or the unseen. We see the ugly cocoon; He sees the beautiful butterfly inside. We see the painful process, while he is producing value through that process. Solomon reminds us that God makes everything beautiful in its time. This includes all of the pain, suffering, sorrows, and trouble.
We have Gods promise, not that all things in our life will be good, but that all things will work together for good:
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28
3. Enjoy Life
I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God. I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him. – Ecclesiastes 3:12-14
The Lord does not want you to be miserable. He wants us to live with joy in our lives
That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. – 1 John 1:3-4
The only way for us to experience true joy and to be full of joy instead of being full of worry and uncertainty is to have a close relationship with him!
We can have and experience joy even when everything is not going our way or according to our plans (which they rarely do). We can have joy through those times because we can enjoy the consolation that we receive from God:
In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. – Psalms 94:19
We can be glad because we know that we have the presence of God in our Lives:
I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD. – Psalms 122:1
Another reason that we can have joy even during the trials and tribulations of life is that we can know that we have Gods words. He has given us his word so that we can learn of him and know that what he has started, he will finish (Philippians 1:6)
Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts. – Jeremiah 15:16
Will you acknowledge his timing today? Or are you trusting in your timing? Won’t you put all of your trust in his timing in 2018?