Prepare – Ecclesiastes 3:9–15
What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 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. 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. I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.
Time. It’s very elusive. We all experience it, many people write about it, but no one can control it. There is a time for everything, says Solomon in the opening eight verses of this chapter. None of us knows, though, what will happen next or when our time will be.
God has done it. It’s a divine action before it is a human action, because God determines times and season. He is Lord over time, and he has made everything beautiful in its time.
He has put eternity into our hearts. What does it mean that God has put eternity in our hearts? I think it means that we have the ability, as people, to understand in our hearts that there is something beyond this world, that we were made for a greater purpose than just to live and die (see Romans 1:19-20). God has given us this ability and desire, but this desire cannot be met apart from God, and not in this world. We cannot discover God’s purpose and purposes; we cannot find purpose in life on our own, apart from God. We have this unmet longing that only God can fill.
C.S. Lewis said it this way: “if I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world” (Mere Christianity, 120). It’s like “the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never visited” (The Weight of Glory, 30-31). It’s elusive without God.
What is God’s goal in all of it? That we should fear him – not be afraid, although that could be part of it, but more so revere, honor, and give glory to him. God brings us through times like this so that we honor him as Lord. Our response should be like the response of Job, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted… I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:2, 5–6 ESV).
Whatever time of life you are in today, spend some of it worshipping God. Trust him, your time is in his hands (Ps. 31:14-15).
~ Pastor Craig Johnson