Rev. Ross Helgeton
Faith and Reflection
Several families, in the last few years, have requested that I bring my funeral devotional from Ecclesiastes 7. It is particularly fitting for those with an agrarian background because of the words, “A time to plant and a time to harvest” in the second verse. Not everyone would know this passage, but most would know the pop song that borrows from it for its lyrics, namely “Turn! Turn! Turn!” released by the Byrds on Oct. 1, 1965.
The passage was written by King Solomon nearly 1,000 years before Christ and in it he talks about times and seasons and appropriate behaviour and attitudes for the same. A season can be defined as a segment of time that has been allotted for certain things to take place. Solomon provides, in this text, several conclusions about the seasons of life. However, there are three things in particular that he shares, which apply to any season of life.
In Verse 1 Solomon stated, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” I understand from this verse that God is in control and I am not. I cannot change the seasons of my life, but I’m responsible to make decisions that will affect how I live within the seasons. It is not for me to be haunted by the past, nor to be anxious about the future. Every day is a gift from God, but they all come packaged differently and some of them are a little more difficult to unpack and deal with than others. I need God’s wisdom and guidance in order to determine what to do with each of them.
Verse 11 says that God “has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in our hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.” The passage is sweet and sour. It indicates that there is beauty and order to everything, but also suggests that our understanding, or satisfaction will never be comprehensive. So, God sees the big picture and I don’t!
Skipping ahead to Verse 14 we read, “I understand that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before Him.” I learn from this passage that God is God, and I’m not… The only truly possible and plausible response is for me to stand in awe of Him!
Solomon is suggesting that life cannot be accurately measured by age, assets or abilities. It may however be measured by attitude, aims and intentions and particularly our aspiration for, our acknowledgment of and our availability to God.