Can you name something that makes you happy?
Ecclesiastes 3 contains some very famous verses. Verses that almost everyone knows because there was a very famous song written about them a long time ago. Here’s the verses (maybe mom and dad can sing along).
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
Now, most people try to make these verses all about us. There is a time for US to do everything. And if we can figure out the right time to do things then we might have a happy life.
But the Teacher (the author of Ecclesiastes) is actually saying the exact opposite. He’s saying that God determines all of the “times” to do things. Everything happens when God wants it to, not us. People are born and people die when God decides. Plants are sown and plants are plucked when God decides. We laugh and we cry when God decides.
And because God controls everything the Teacher then says this:
Ecclesiastes 3:12. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live.
What is the Teacher telling us to do? He’s telling us to just be joyful and do good.
Are you joyful?
Do you try to do good?
The Teacher’s advice is pretty good. We should try to live a joyful life and we definitely should try to do good things, and help others. But the Teacher’s reason for being happy and good isn’t the best reason. He thinks we should try to be happy and kind because it will help us forget that our life is so hard. Or like we read yesterday, our life is just a vapor, like the steam on your hot cocoa. It’s here, and then it disappears.
You know, one thousand years after Ecclesiastes, Jesus came to earth and teach us the same two things. Jesus taught us to be happy (he used the word blessed). And Jesus taught us to do good. But Jesus didn’t tell us to be happy and to do good because life is so hard and so short. He told us to be happy and good because life is forever. And he is forever. And when we trust in him to forgive our sins, life isn’t short and pointless any more. Life with Jesus is good, and joyful, and full of love. And we will spend forever with Jesus being happy and doing good, and loving God and others. So, if that is how we will spend forever, then why not start being happy today? Why not start doing good today? When we know that Jesus loves us no matter what, we can choose to be happy no matter what. And when we know that in the end everything will be good in God’s “time,” then we can choose to be good today.
Because of Jesus we know that God will make everything good in his time.
With Jesus we can be joyful and good while we trust God’s timing.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Make a plan to do something good for someone else today. What will it be? Talk about our motivation for doing good (our WHY). Why do we do good? Why do we try to be happy? How does knowing Jesus help us be happy and do good things for others?
You make my life happy and good. Help me to trust you and your timing, and help me to do good to others while I wait on you.
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