For everything there is a reason, a time for every matter under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted
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 beginning to end. I perceived that 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.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, 11-13
We seem to be in a rush for everything we do in life. We move quickly from one thing to the next, rushing our lives away. Then we hear the words of Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes for “there is a reason, a time for every matter under heaven.” There is time for each and everything, including time to rest. Life was meant to have seasons, a rhythm of life matching the timing of God for us.
He also reminds us there is “a time to be born, and a time to die.” At this point you may be saying, yes we all know that if we have been born that we will have a time when we die. All one has to do is walk around a graveyard to know that. Although we do know it practically do we know it personally?
What happens between the time we are born and die is not really measured by the years, but the quality of the fruit. That’s why the second analogy is there to give perspective. A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted reminds us of the life cycle of all things. Plants have a shorter life cycle and it may be easier for us to see and understand life has a beginning and an end. Dietrich Bonhoeffer only lived until his thirties and facing death in a concentration camp did not see this length of his life as the measure of its worth, but its fruitfulness and purposefulness for God is the value. Jesus too, only lived to thirty-three years old, yet he forever changed the world.
We know that we are born but we too often don’t want to think about this death thing at all, or if we are willing think about it, it is sometime later, but not now. Many think they will live forever or be called home before we have to die. In verse eleven we are reminded that he has everything thing beautiful in its time and that God has put eternity into man’s heart, yet he cannot find out what God has done from beginning to end. We are like the plants in the span of eternity, we live but a short while on this earth but will we be fruitful for the one who created us.
We cannot know all that God has in store for us for eternity. We do not know how many will be the number of our days. What we can know and control is what we will do with those days. We are reminded to “be joyful and do good as long as we live”, not that we have to live long to do that. This is not about how much time, but how in the season(s) we have to live will we produce fruit, fruit that lasts. It is about faithfulness. There is a time and a season for everything, and he has made everything beautiful in its time.