Time tells so much. Time tells the truth. Time is something we love to spend and fear to lose. Time, and how one uses it, speaks volumes about one’s character.
In Ecclesiastes 3 Solomon writes one of the Bibles most favorite thoughts about time when he says, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…” Solomon speaks of time to be born and to die, to laugh and to mourn, and he names more. (click here to read the passage) Life is seasons. Some seasons are good. Other seasons are hard.
Our culture spends many resources and much effort on avoiding hard times and trying to cause the good times, yet no matter how much money one spends or how frivolous one lives, seasons of all sorts come and go.
We must choose to live in the moment not for the moment. This requires seeing more than this moment or the moments we believe this one moment will cause. Moments become idols when they are magnified beyond Eternity. The emotions tied to certain moments and experiences cause us to overvalue them in life. It is not that these moments are unimportant; they are simply not ultimate. Tim Tebow (a young man that has learned how fleeting moments can be) is quoted to say, “When you live for the moment it will always let you down.” It is not the moments fault. It is ours. We expected more than that moment could ever deliver.
In Ecclesiastes 3 Solomon teaches that “God has set eternity in the hearts of man.” Eternity is an inescapable reality. God created us for eternity. The natural desire for humanity to seek that which is beyond itself reveals an appetite. Appetites remind us of realities. Hunger reminds us of food. Thirst…water. Eternity…God. The problem with this hunger or appetite is that nothing we can find on earth satisfies it. (God has put eternity in our hearts yet we cannot understand what he has done from beginning to end.) We desire it yet we cannot truly fathom it at the same time.
What you worship in this life will be your reward. As we consider eternity we must consider what it will contain. If the moments of your life are focused on things that are destroyed by moth and rust (Matt. 6:19-21), those things are your reward. If you live fully for now, now is your full reward. Valuing eternity means valuing the emotions and moments of life, for what they are.
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 brings this book to a telling conclusion. In all his negativity about the vanity of life Solomon ends with a positive take on duty itself. Duty is a great privilege when we desire to do what we were designed to do. We love to do what we ought to do when we live our lives in love with the one who created that “oughtness” within us. We must seek to love the One we live for more than how we live. Live in love with Jesus and the duties and responsibilities of life will not change, but they will hold deeper value and richer meaning.
Life is to be lived now, but all of life is not about right now. Eternity is ultimate, because to “live is Christ and to die is gain.” Jesus came that we “might have life and that life to the full.” This full life is not something we will receive one day, it is the promise for this very day. Yet we will lose the value of this day if we forget the value of eternity. The moments in life are correctly captured in the context of eternity.