ODJ: a time to . . .

June 10, 2014 

READ: Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 

For everything there is a season (v.1).

When grocer William Straw died unexpectedly in 1932, the family of this man from Worksop, England, was devastated. In their grief, they chose to leave William’s red brick house precisely the way it was the day he died. Over the years, Straw’s two sons lived there, keeping the house in immaculate condition—leaving their father’s coats and hats by the front door, his soap in the bathtub and unopened cans of sardines and beans in the pantry. In 1991 the last surviving son died, leaving the house to the National Trust. The Trust now allows visitors to view William Straw’s house as an example of English life from 80 years ago.

The best we can do is preserve images and memories of the past because we can’t actually stop time from moving on. Ecclesiastes reminds us that there are many seasons in our life, and each has its place. There is “a time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. . . . A time to grieve and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:2,4). While we must use time wisely and discern how best to spend our days, we can’t control where time takes us.

We might want to hold tightly to seasons of joy or seasons of plenty, but the truth is that there will also be seasons of sorrow and need. In our culture we work desperately to hang on to our youth. Age, however, overtakes us all. There is, indeed, “a time to die” (v.2).

The author of Ecclesiastes reminds us that we need not strive to control our lives or fear how few days we’ve been given. For “God has made everything beautiful for its own time” (v.11). When God is Lord of our days, we can receive each moment as a gift from Him and live it to the fullest. —Winn Collier
365-day plan› Luke 2:1-20

Read through Ecclesiastes 11:9-12:5 and reflect on how things change. Which changes are hard for you? Which do you embrace easily? 
When you consider the future, what emotions do you experience? How does it make you feel to know that God has “made everything beautiful for its own time”?