Psalm 90:1-12 and Ecclesiastes 3:1-11
Many of us in this modern, industrial, tech-savvy world, have lost touch with the seasonality of life. We want what we want, when we want it. We’ve come to believe that time is not of any consequence; and the lines between busy and rest, work and play, have become increasingly blurred.
How far are we from the rhythms and “pleasure of our toil?” What cost to ourselves, to our relationships, and to our planet is this frantic pace? How has our denial of the passage of time and seasons of our lives created an anti-aging sentiment as well as the worship of everything “fast” and the sense that immediate gratification is “normal?” Have you thought about it? Or have you been way too busy to stop and think about how busy you are?
I’ve figured out why I’m doing this “Busy” series by Dr. Marcia McFee. This series appealed to me immediately, and now I know why. I needed it! I was so busy with this church and Ironwood Wesley, plus all the other things I was involved in, that I did not even make the time to enjoy the four seasons we have in this beautiful Upper Peninsula; or the seasons of my life. I’d been praying, “Jesus, show me when I should retire.” Joe’s illness and my mother’s situation, where she needs me more; was God’s sign that it was at least time to semi-retire.
This “Busy” series has caused me to slow down and take a good look at my life.
What I’ve discovered is that I like challenges and being busy; they energize me! This epiphany came to me Wednesday morning, while I was writing this. I’ve got a busy week next week and I feel energized by that knowledge. God designed me to be busy and active.
What I also discovered is that I’m enjoying, not being so busy. I am enjoying cross country skiing, and long walks, and time with friends, because I don’t have to always be on the run, going somewhere. I’ve started having breakfast once a month with some girlfriends I’ve had since kindergarten. I’m also spending more quality time with Joe and my mom.
Moses wrote in Psalm 90:12, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Moses was 120 years old when he died. I hope it doesn’t take us that long to gain some wisdom!
A British father wrote that when he was on an outing with his family, his wife implored their daughter Molly to hurry up because there was “no time to stop and blow the dandelions.” In response, Molly raised what may be for a child —and perhaps for all of us — the major philosophical issue of the new millennium. “Mummy,” she said, “what is time for?” ——– So what is time for?
“What would you do if you knew that you had only one day to live?” That was the question Gunther Klempnauer asked 625 young students in 12 different German vocational schools. He reported a wide variety of responses including the expected, “Get drunk, get a fix, get a girl.” Some said they would spend the time with family, others wanted to climb a mountain or sail their boat, and yet others wanted to go on a picnic with friends. One student indicated that he would spend the time reviewing his photo albums and savoring the memories. An 18-year-old young woman wrote: “I would like to spend my last evening in church alone with God, thanking him for my full and happy life.”
It is an interesting question and a daunting exercise to answer it. What would we do if we knew that we had just 24 hours to live?
Someone once found St. Francis of Assisi hoeing his garden and put the same question to him. Francis replied, “I would finish hoeing my garden.” And I remember how John Wesley was asked what he would do if he knew Jesus’ “second coming” would occur the next day; Wesley replied he would continue with what he planned to do, including calling on a friend and preaching that night in a nearby town. A popular news columnist imagined what the world would be like if everyone suddenly knew there were only 24 hours left for them to live. He said the telephone circuits would be overloaded with desperate people trying to call family and friends in order to say, “I love you.” *
King Solomon was very wise. In 1 Kings: 3:5, the Lord God appeared to Solomon in a dream while he was at Gibeon and said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
King Solomon replies in 1 Kings 3:9, “Give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong,—” In other words, please give me wisdom to do this job for you.
That’s exactly what the Almighty God did! King Solomon governed the nation of Israel wisely, and his kingdom was the richest in the world at that time. He wrote Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, both of which give us wise advice on how to live a healthy and abundant life.
Ecclesiastes 3 gives us the best advice of all. In 3:1 King Solomon writes, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”
As we get older, doesn’t it seem as if time passes faster? My 94-year-old mother will say, “Wow, another week has passed. Where did the time go?”
Think about it. It seems like just yesterday, we had four children running us ragged. In May our oldest granddaughter will be graduating from college, and our oldest grandson graduated last May! Where did that time go?
We must slow down and enjoy the four seasons of this beautiful place we live in, and the seasons of our life! How do we do that? By recognizing that there is a Time for Every Matter under heaven. By understanding that there is a time to be born and a time to die, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to be silent and a time to speak. There is much wisdom in Solomon’s writing. I encourage you to read Proverbs and Ecclesiastes for the first time, or read it again.
I encourage you to think about how you spend your time. Do you spend quality time with family and friends? Do you spend quality time doing things for others and building the Kingdom of God, by sharing the love of Jesus?
You and I only have so much time to live our earthly life, and our time should be a demonstration of our Christianity; in the words we speak and in the way we live. Our lives should be a witness to Jesus’ love flowing into us and through us to others.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, give us the wisdom to know when to slow down our busy lives and spend more time with you. It is from you, Lord, that we learn about grace and mercy, and how to love one another. Amen
Pastor Rosemary DeHut
References: *–Donald J. Shelby, Santa Monica, “Living Tomorrow Today,”