A third truth Solomon teaches us about time in Ecclesiastes 3 is this: Time comes in seasons. “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven.”
If you really want to screw your life up, then ignore this truth about time.
What’s a season? It’s a period of time characterized by particular circumstances, opportunities and limitations. Winter is a season. It’s characterized by particular circumstances – typically much colder temperatures, snow, shorter days – and winter opens up particular opportunities – special holidays, skiing, fires, hot chocolate, and gives us particular limitations – no picnics, gardens, beachdays or suntans. Each season is like that.
Because a season is like this, it can be predicted and prepared for. Because there is a rhythm and an order to life, seasons should never come as a surprise to us. There are always things we should be doing to get ready for the changing of a season. You don’t wait till winter to cut your firewood. You don’t wait till summer to plant your garden.You don’t wait till the storm comes to fill up your pantry. You don’t wait till the Big One comes to prepare your earthquake kit.
What does this have to do with life, and the use of time? Only everything!
Seasons can be predicted and prepared for.
There are things you ought to be doing in your teen years that will make your 20s go smoother. Parents, you’re to help in this. You’re not to be your child’s best friend. Not now. Not in this season. Your job is to prepare your child for life as an adult, so that you can give to the world someone who is a good, decent, responsible human being.
There are things you ought to be doing in your 20s to make your 30s go smoother. Things in your 30s to prepare for your 40s. And you don’t have endless time to waste. And if you miss your appointment with time, then the road ahead will be harder for you. Or you’ll miss the appointment altogether.
What’s frightening about this great adventure Janis and I are on with Jesus – selling our home, stepping down from jobs, moving to California, me taking a year off from work to write – is that we’re in our 50s, a season where the clock is ticking and we should be doing everything we can to shore up our savings, not depleting it. I’m not unaware of the rules we are breaking to do this. I’ve been teaching those rules for years. I’m not unaware of the season of life I am in.
But in a way it was precisely recognizing the season of life I was in that propelled me to take this chance. I’ve written stories since I was a boy. And my mind never stops churning out stories and books and ideas. And so I realized, “Unless I want to be one of those people who on his deathbed is filled with regret about all the things they never did, then it’s now or never.”
The clock is ticking on my life. So I took the leap. And because of it, novels and screenplays and websites and a ministry exist that never existed before. There are still no guarantees of “success” for the coming days. But at least I can lay my head peacefully on my pillow on my last night on earth.
“Teach me Lord to measure my days,” the psalmwriter prayed. In other words, recognize time comes in seasons.
Bear Clifton is a pastor, writer and screenwriter. His blogs and devotionals can be enjoyed at his ministry website: trainyourselfministry.com and his writing website: blclifton.com. Bear is the author of “Train Yourself To Be Godly: A 40 Day Journey Toward Sexual Wholeness”, “Ben-Hur: The Odyssey”, and “A Sparrow Could Fall”, all available through Amazon.
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