CELEBRATING THE SEASONS
Lord, thank you that you are with me through every season of life.
Read Ecclesiastes 3:1–15
A Time for Everything
3 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.
15 Whatever is has already been,
and what will be has been before;
and God will call the past to account.[b]
a Ecclesiastes 3:11 Or also placed ignorance in the human heart, so that
b Ecclesiastes 3:15 Or God calls back the past
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectSing or listen to the hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness!”
Whether or not you are a lover of autumn leaves and winter frosts, you probably have not enjoyed the “winters” of life as you have passed through them. Sometimes the hard seasons seem to go on forever and we feel like God has forgotten us. Sometimes it’s as if we’re just plodding along, keeping going without any real sense of where we’re heading. Just like the winters of nature’s cycle of seasons, the winters of our lives have their place. They can be long and painful, but they often lead to increased fruitfulness and a flowering of new things.
After contemplating the many seasons of life, the Teacher turns his attention to God. He acknowledges that God is at work throughout our seasons (11,14,15) and it is his work that will last forever (14). The sense of eternity felt by people (11) is not so that we will seek for ourselves a lasting legacy, as has been the Teacher’s focus in chapters 1 and 2. Rather, our awareness of eternity should push us to seek the God who is eternal.
The Teacher’s conclusion, then, is that we are to rejoice and be thankful (13,14) for all that God gives us, throughout the good seasons and the bad. And we are to do good while we can (12) as this is of greater eternal value.
What season are you in right now? What does it mean to be happy and to do good while we can?
Lord, at the beginning of this new year, I commit myself to you afresh and give thanks for your faithfulness.
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