KEY VERSE: For everything, there is a season, a right time for every intention under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1(CJB)
The book of Ecclesiastes in Hebrew is called Qohelet; meaning Preacher is an old testament book of wisdom literature. The book is attributed to Solomon, the son of David, King in Jerusalem. Its content is very relevant in a world of changing values and principles. To maintain balance in life and ministry, we need to glean from someone who had it all, did all his heart desired, and came to a conclusion that will help us guard our hearts in our pursuits.
Anything I wanted, I would take. I denied myself no pleasure. I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors. But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere. Ecclesiastes 2:10-11(NLT)
Is life meaningless? Is life worth living? I pray this series will give us clarity on these questions.
TIMES AND SEASONS
For everything, there is a season, a right time for every intention under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1(CJB)
The word seasons (Greek: Kairos in the strong’s concordance) means a fixed or special occasion, while Times(Greek: Chronos) refers to the general time frame of events in God’s plan. These insights point to two clocks, one that determines when special occasions take place and the second clock the Father uses for his program in the universe.
He answered, “You don’t need to know the dates or the times; the Father has kept these under his own authority. Acts 1:7
So, is it essential to discern times in the light of Jesus’ statement above? Looking at the context, the disciples were asking for specific dates when God would restore political rule to Israel. Instead, Jesus pointed them to the event of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit whose time had come, which should concern them.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the Earth.” Acts 1:8
No, what you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel:’In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. Acts 2:16-17(NLT)
We can trace the origin of seasons to the creation of the world. God made lights that determined the day and night times. The absence or presence of lights also determined the years and the seasons. In nature, we know that there are four seasons, which are identified by the change in weather. The differential heating of the Earth controls all seasons due to how it faces the Sun. The absence of light, which gives clarity, might determine the lack of change of season in a person’s life.
Then God said, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. Let them be signs to mark the seasons, days, and years. Let these lights in the sky shine down on the Earth.” And that is what happened. God made two great lights—the larger one to govern the day and the smaller one to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set these lights in the sky to light the Earth, to govern the day and night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:14-18(NLT)
We can prepare for each season when we know the time of the year because every season has its opportunities and challenges. Jesus, in other passages of scriptures, gave clues to the signs of different times(Kairos) so that his disciples would not be taken unaware.
“Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to be fulfilled?” “Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that his return is very near, right at the door.” “And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!” Mark 13:4,28-29,33
Discerning the times and seasons keeps us on guard and alert. It helps us take the posture that empowers us for the appropriate actions God expects from us.
Recently, l received the stem of a sunflower from a friend to plant in my garden; the plant has grown tall with plenty of leaves and no flower yet. As soon as l started to get impatient and wanted to complain, I remembered my friend had told me how long it would take before the flowers appeared. That piece of information helped me to have the right expectation.
Knowing that God has a Time (Chronos) helps us seek alignment with his plans; our prayers become an agreement with his plans. The songwriter in the hymn, What a friend we have in Jesus, speaks of “…needless pain we bear” when we don’t take our cares to Jesus.
Several scriptures point to an error in judging the time right; just as there are natural consequences for misjudging the weather, there are several impacts of having wrong expectations about life.
But Elisha asked him, “Don’t you realize that I was there in spirit when Naaman stepped down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to receive money and clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and cattle, and male and female servants. 2 Kings 5:26(NLT)
“Son of man, you’ve heard that proverb they quote in Israel: ‘Time passes, and prophecies come to nothing.’ Tell the people, This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will put an end to this proverb, and you will soon stop quoting it.’ Now give them this new proverb to replace the old one: ‘The time has come for every prophecy to be fulfilled!’ Ezekiel 12:22-24(NLT)
For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. 2 Timothy 4:3(NLT)
You must understand that in the last days, there will come times of much trouble. 2 Timothy 3:1(NLT)
For everything, there is an appointed time. There is an appropriate time for every activity under heaven: Ecclesiastes 3:1(EHV)
In conclusion, we need a mindset that considers the appropriateness of the timing of requests and expectations from both man and God. Secondly, while we plan, it is better to consider God’s plans for us first and seek an alignment with them. Thirdly, we must seek spiritual light and divine clarity about the seasons; it can save us needless chasing after the wind like Jonah.
Father, thank you for the wisdom available for us in the scriptures; as we study, open the eyes of our understanding in Jesus’ name, amen.