by Tony Nester

For Everything There is a Season
Tony Nester
Ecclesiastes 3:1-15

When Bishop William Willimon was a teacher at Duke University he thought a lot about those so-called "teachable moments" when a student was ready to hear what he had to teach.

"The way I figure it," he said, "about eighty percent of what I teach is the right information - at the wrong time."

True education is a matter of timing. It happens when the right student meets up with the right teacher. Alas, reports Willimon, "I know as little how to predict or prepare for that time as I did when I first tiptoed into a classroom as a freshman."

The Book of Ecclesiastes says: For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1). In other words, life is to a great extent all about timing - doing the right thing in the right season.

There is a truth here for us but it's an uncomfortable one. The Bible is telling us that we don't control the seasons of life; God does. Our work, our choices, our decisions need to flow within the timing of God. Stop trying to force your will on life and instead, learn to live within the timing of God.

In other words, learn some humility. A lot of our stress comes from trying to get control of what is beyond our control. Once we know that it is God's timing that matters most, we can stop trying to force people to follow our time table rather than God's. Then we become more faithful, more gracious, and more responsive to the movement of God in our lives.

Verse 11 affirms that God has made everything "suitable" for it's time. The NIV says it a bit more elegantly: He has made everything "beautiful" in its time. The peace of God comes to those who learn to live within the beauty of God's timing.

Jesus lived and died with great sensitivity to what he called "his hour". "My hour has not yet come," he once said to his mother (John 2:4). He spoke fearlessly in spite of opposition knowing tha ...

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