A Time For Everything
by Pastor Gene
In what may be the Old Testament’s most famous passage, Solomon, the wise king who wasted years searching for happiness, wrote, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
Is this true? Do you feel like you have time to do everything you need to do? To care for and nurture your loved ones? To be diligent in your industry? To take time to relax your mind from the world and its cares? To serve others as Jesus taught us to serve?
And what of the disciplines of the Christian life? Do you have time for those? Prayer, meditating on God’s Word, gathering with other brothers and sisters for worship, serving?
Truth is, it’s hard to find time for these things when we’re zooming through life in a blur. But yet, hear it again: “There IS a time for EVERYthing, and a season for EVERY activity under the heavens.” Now, Solomon is certainly not talking about time for sin or mischief. There’s never time for that. Sin is a great distractor! It robs us of the time God has given us to do good. Solomon is saying that there IS a time for every good thing, every God-ordained activity. And there’s no question about it, God expects His children to do good.
We’re not to “grow weary of doing good” (Galatians 6:9); it’s sin to know “the right thing to do” and fail to do it (James 4:17); we’re to “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24); we’re to “learn to devote [ourselves] to good works” (Titus 3:14), for we are the Father’s “workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
It might be time to get ruthless with our schedules and weed out some of the “must dos” that are growing there. If we’re honest, we might find that many of the things that consume hour-upon-hour of our time are weeds that we’ve planted in the garden of our day; they’re not the Father’s work.
Put it to the test. Separate out the good stuff (the God stuff) from the ‘us’ stuff. I believe that God has given us the time to do everything that He desires for us to do – “a time for every [good] thing, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”
- What might you weed out of your day to make room for the good and the godly things the Father desires to find there?
- Make an honest list of the activities that fill your schedule. Consider each one individually. Ask: ‘Does it pass the Philippians 4:8 test?’ “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” OK, so take the first activity. Is it pure? Is it honorable? Pure, lovely, commendable? Is it praiseworthy? It is? Fine, then move on to the next one. The Philippians 4:8 test might help you in the winnowing process.
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The verse that Jumps out is Galatians 6:9 do not grow weary in doing good. I think many are weary but because we burden ourselves with too much even within our church body because the Harvest is plenty but the workers are few. If you are a “caregiver” type you want to help with everything and in the process you do exactly that grow weary and instead of experiencing joy in the doing we feel worn before we even do it. This list may be a good challenge but it is also a scary one because it shows where our time is going. But a necessary thing – so challenge accepted!
Love the idea of putting things through a litmus test. I struggled with it a bit though because I found some things that take up time in my life don’t fit neatly into any of the Philippians’ categories. Say, for instance, when I considered the time I like to spend catching up on the news of the day…Well, is making yourself aware of what is going on in our culture pure? Uh…maybe not so much. Is it lovely? Certainly not! Is it praiseworthy, commendable or honorable? From the world’s perspective maybe,…..but God’s??? After wrestling with this a bit, I thought back to a comment made in our group last night about how we can allow things to steal our time by becoming “hooked on” them, in essence addicted to them — having to constantly be connected to them or check them. Things like Facebook, our favorite web sites and blogs, (present one excluded, of course ;D) and video games. And that is where I settled on that one. Catching up on the news is not inherently God-dishonoring, but if I allow it to, it can become so. So many things that are part of our everyday existence are not necessarily “bad”, but they have the potential to become so if we allow it. My prayer is that with the Holy Spirit’s help I can recognize them before they get to that state.
Great comment, Lisa. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” includes time for refreshment and rest, leisure and consideration of the world around us (the news, for instance). To keep one’s self informed is certainly not sinful, nor is it unwise. The problem is when any of these things (news, entertainment, sports, etc.) begin to consume too much of our time. We’ve all met the ‘news-junkie,’ for instance – or the person whose every free moment is consumed with entertainment of some kind. When these things, for which there certainly is ‘a season,’ begin to crowd out other things – God -ordained things – then we’re living life out of balance. I think keeping up on the news is both “honorable” and “commendable” and passes the Philippians test. But like every other “activity under the heavens,” it must be held in the balance of a healthy, disciplined life lived before God. We cannot effectively challenge the darkness of our age if we’re unaware of what the devil is up to. Jesus said, “When you see these things …” Well, to see, we have to look. So to do so is not wrong or sinful. However, as the great Apostle reminded us, “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable” (1 Corinthians 10:23). I think the key here is asking, ‘Lord, help me to hold all of these these activities in a balance that will find them all to be profitable – and that my life might be pleasing to You.’
Here is my verse to prepare me for Discipleship Group and I will keep it in my heart and brain upon waking every morning:
Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”
This is what spoke to me while reading your message, Pastor G, because if I make this verse my intention, I feel I would prioritize much better than I do. Adding in your suggestion of a list should clearly help me to evaluate my time as profitable or wasteful. Will it be a list of gold, silver, precious stones, or will it be wood, stubble, and hay? I’m praying for the former!
Very interesting topic. What first came to mind is the concept of our blog. My thoughts were forget it.. There was no time for another task in my life.But after careful prayer and guidance from above I eliminated complaining from my daily tasks and faithfully have read and responded to our blog. Yes my energy level currently is poor consumed with helping family that need me and I wouldn’t have that any other way.. So for now possibility to give up yard and housework..lol
Currently I am able to accomplish my tasks and pray easily as I have the time..I do spend time helping others when I can. A phone call or a visit to cheer someone up or help them can make a world of difference to someone in need.