Summary: It's about time, and it's all about life.
TIME LIFE PRESENTS
Introduction: Have you ever caught one of those “Time Life” commercials on television? Time Life is a company that markets CD’s, DVD’s, Music Videos, etc. What does this have to do with this chapter? In twenty-two verses the word “time” is noted thirty-two (32) times. It’s about time, and it’s all about life.
Solomon pondered the idea of time! Every day we are given 86,400 second, 1,400 minutes, or 24 hours. Regardless of who we are, we all have the same amount of time. Ben Franklin once said, “Time – that’s the stuff life is made of.” How do you perceive time? Thirty minutes for a student awaiting the closing bell is different from that of a convicted murderer on death row who will in thirty minutes receive a lethal injection. One year for a teenager longing for a driver’s license differs from the person who’s just been told they have one year to live because of a terminal illness. As it has been said, “time drags on or flies, but time never stops.” Consider these following ideas.
I. Time Life Presents Changes (v. 1-8)
“Life is full of contrasts.” As Solomon pondered time and life he listed fourteen contrasting events. This is life as it occurs.
B. Planting and Uprooting (v. 2) – You don’t plant in harvest nor harvest in planting. Timing is everything. What is it you need to plant or uproot?
C. Killing and Healing (v. 3) – Solomon’s concern here is not ethics but asserting a central fact of life. “Life seems strangely fixed between a battle-field and a first-aid station.” (Swindoll)
D. Tear Down and Build Up (v. 3) – There a time to blast and a time to build.
E. Weeping and Laughter (v. 4) – Some who are weeping long for laughter. Don’t run from either.
F. Mourning and Dancing (v. 4) – Consider death, divorce, marriage and birth. Life swings from grief to joy.
G. Scatter and Gather (v. 5) – Here’s a defensive and offensive ploy.
H. Embrace and Refrain (v. 5) – There’s a time for affirmation and confrontation.
I. Search and Give Up (v. 6)
J. Keep and Throw Away (v. 6) – Have you checked your garage, attic or closet lately?
K. Tear and Mend (v. 7)
L. Silence and Speaking (v. 7) – We need to know when to speak up and shut up!
M. Love and Hate (v. 8) – Love what God loves (how about a cheerful giver) and hate what God hates (see Proverbs 6:17-19).
N. War and Peace (v. 8) – War is sometimes necessary. How about being a peacemaker in your church.
See the tension? Each negative cancels out the positive. At the end of the day,
what’s the gain? See verse 9. If your journey in life is only from the cradle to the grave and you leave God out, then every day you’re wasting 86,400 precious seconds.
II. Time Life Presents Certainty (v. 9-15)
“There’s more to life than this world!” Most live between sad and bad; between
heartache and heartbreak. Life without God is the pits! Until He fills the vacuum life will never have meaning. When he does fill a heart, he does four things.
A. He Make Life Beautiful (v. 11) – Note the words “appropriate” (beautiful), “everything” and “in it’s time.”
B. He Makes Life Interesting (v. 11) – “Eternity.” He gives us the “itch” for tomorrow.
C. He Make Life Joyful (v. 12-13)
D. He Make Life Stable (v. 14-15) – God teaches us lessons, sometimes repeatedly, until we learn them. A college professor told his class, “You all can take class in one of two ways. You can take it seriously, or you can take it over.” Bottom line: Life comes from outside this world! It’s taken some people a long time to learn this. Sadly, some never learn.
III. Time Life Present Confusion (v. 16-22)
“Life is not always fair – get used to it.” Solomon turns back to his cynicism. Why? See verse 16. Wickedness is winning. Without God people become beast-like in their nature and actions. Verses 19-21 should not be endorsed as a doctrine but accepted as thoughts from a troubled man who’s trying to understand life “under the sun” or without God’s perspective.
I think Solomon’s advice in these verses is simply teaching us to learn to take advantage of our disadvantages. You may not be able to change your “lot” (v. 22), but you can change your reaction or attitude to it. Let him take your mess and make a miracle.
Conclusion: Without God there is no purpose or meaning. With God you can have the “time of your life!”