Matthew R. Perry

Are We Good Stewards of our Time? (Part II: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

In Uncategorized on August 9, 2007 at 11:07 am

We should be stewards of our time with God’s purposes in mind (Ecclesiates 3:1-8).

Here we see a phrase that we may know, but we just didn’t know that we know it. “For there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” A number of issues plague Solomon as they do every human being under heaven. What is the point of wisdom? Solomon said that searching out wisdom to find out about all that is done under heaven is “an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with” (Ecclesiastes 1:13). Trying to attain this knowledge is “a striving after wind” (1:17).

This particular paragraph is an answer from God through Solomon about how to deal with the apparent futility of everything under the sun. This answer applied 2700 years ago, it applies today, and will apply as long as the world exists. Solomon says, “All things are under God’s control. He is sovereign over every event and every time under heaven.”

When most people read this passage, they read this as a simple commentary on our times. In other words, we know that people will be born and will die, people will plant and pluck up, people will be killed and healed, etc. We know this from our experiences of births, funerals, newscasts, parties — the issues of life make this clear. Yet, I believe we need to read this more carefully. Solomon says, “For everything, there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” We see that these issues don’t “just happen,” but that God purposes these issues to happen in their season.

Some will object to this, won’t they? They will say that there are items on this list that we should not attribute to God purposing them to happen. Yet, we see this with Moses, don’t we? From no less a place that the burning bush when Moses objected to God’s call on his life because he could not speak fluently. Exodus 4:10-11

But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” [11] Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?

Or maybe in Sunday School, you remember from the little book of Habakkuk where God raised up evil Babylon as a tool of judgment toward the people of Israel.

“Look among the nations, and see;
wonder and be astounded.
For I am doing a work in your days
that you would not believe if told.
[6] For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans,
that bitter and hasty nation,
who march through the breadth of the earth,
to seize dwellings not their own.

Or do you not see the life of Jesus Himself? Over and over, he would tell his followers, “My time has not yet come.” Then in John 17 as we say a few weeks ago, his time had come. And God ordained for him to be sent to the cross by Judas, whom he foreordained would deliver him over to wicked men to be crucified.

A word here: some really take issue with the fact that God would allow suffering in this world — and if that’s so, then they would go ape if he ordained periods of suffering as Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 says. But we must always look to Jesus, right? For in Jesus, God suffered personally, and in Jesus we see that there must be a purpose behind that suffering. God did not escape it — He identified with it in His Son for a purpose. So the suffering that takes place in this world must have a reason as well.

Why go into all this? Because as we look as the stewardship of time that God has given to us, we do see that he has a general purpose for everything that happens under the sun. As one commentator put it, this both reassures us and sobers us. “It reassures us because we know that God is in control; but it sobers us because God’s control is a mystery. ”It’s not random, in the least.

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  1. Thank you Matt for the reminder that God is control whether it is in times of what we consider good or whether it be at times of trials. I rejoice that no matter what my circumstance I know God is in control and has a purpose for what is happening.

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