Slow your breathing and become aware of the taking in and letting out of your breath. Focus on putting things aside so you will be open to what God is saying to you today.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 (NRSV)
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
What gain have the workers from their toil? I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil.
Whew! What a year 2016 was. I don’t know about you, but I am worn out from a year of ugly politics, continued violence and acts of terrorism, both in this country and abroad, as well as people being nasty to one another. As 2017 begins, it is understandable that some may look around their world and feel hopeless.
Yet as I read today’s scripture, the author is telling us that there is hope and a sense of purpose to our lives. God has given us life here on earth for a reason. It is up to us to discover what that purpose is and do our best to live God’s plan for our lives.
The holiday season is almost over, and some of us will have already broken our New Year’s resolutions before really ever starting them. I’m not a big fan of resolutions, but I am a proponent of doing an inventory of one’s self—physically, mentally, and spiritually. The writer of Ecclesiastes has given us words a checklist of sorts that can be used to look at one’s life and determine what areas need attention.
After working through the list, you may come up with the same question the writer asked: What difference does this make? “What gain have the workers from their toil?” But the next few verses are the “good stuff” of this chapter. God has made everything suitable for its time and wants us to be happy, enjoy ourselves, and take pleasure in all that we do.
Blessed are you, Lord our God, Creator of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion. Amen.
Go with God.