Ecclesiastes 3: 1-11
1)To everything there is a
A time for every purpose
2) A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck
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
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain
6) A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw
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 of war,
And a time of peace.
9) What profit has the worker from that in which he labors?
10) I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied.
11) He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.
12) I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives,
13) and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor-it is the gift of God.
Songs have been written from this set of verses...and I hear them as I type tonight. I've often thought about life and how it progresses, how it waxes and wanes. Like the moon and the tides-so we go on with our daily routines. Some days are more interesting than others-we have calm and then we have storms that uproot all that we are about. All of us endure one thing or another in this list of events. Some of the times that come to us bring pain, some bring healing, some bring change. Sometimes we even have to start all over again. One circumstance always brings another to move us along on this path we walk. All our times are in His hands!
But do we take the time-really-to ask God what the purpose of things are-why they are taking place in our lives? Or do we try to work things out on our own? What profit do we have from our labors when they are done in the flesh? What benefit is there in struggling through daily life without giving more than a blip of a thought to Almighty God and His God-given task for us? To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven. Do we care what God has planned for the season we are in? Do we remember that God cares? Really? About everything? Yes, He cares about everything.
What is my God-given task today? Have I thought much about it? Is it merely to survive each day-struggling on until I die and go to meet the Lord? Or is my God-given task an appointed thing I am given each day-some eternal thing or some thing that shows eternity to others? Could my task be to care for my family, raise my children in Him, be a keeper at home and reverence my husband? Is that a thing that matters in eternity? Yes.
We are to be occupied with the tasks the Holy Spirit gives us daily to do as we go about our labors. Remember we are to be filled anew, afresh each day. Do we remember that we are not our own? We were bought with a price. Can we direct our own lives and not consider that perhaps we are missing the real purpose? Can we fulfill our God-given task without consulting the One who orders our steps?
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Some things take a small amount of time to show their fruit, to show beauty in our lives, and some things are revealed to us long after we have been affected by them. All things work together for good, to them that love God and are called according to His...what??? Purpose. His purpose.
He has put eternity in our hearts. Are you aware of that? Eternity is in our hearts. Our spirits long for fellowship with Him. People spend entire lifetimes in false religions worshiping a god that never speaks to them, a god that requires insane things of them, a god that cannot communicate with them. There are people who believe they worship Jesus...but He said that the hour was coming and now is when true worshipers would worship the Father in spirit and truth. (John 4:23) Let us not go to God with our own self-made ideas of worship. True worship of the Father must be in spirit and truth. God knows our hearts-be honest with Him and He can work miracles in you! He desires truth in worship that comes from your spirit-not your flesh-not lip-service! Real honest to goodness adoration! He is worthy of all praise!
No one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. (He is the Alpha and the Omega-the Beginning and the End.) That's what it says. This is none of our business I guess-or maybe our pea-brains wouldn't be able to grasp it anyway. There is a point of faith for all of us-if you are a believer. That's where it starts. I'm sure I keep God busy enough with my life that I wouldn't understand it all anyway. God does not want us to try to figure it all out. It is all done by grace through faith. Without grace where would we be? And with faith the size of a mustard seed mountains can be moved. Anyhow-we are called to His rest...He is the One who works in us-because He knows what He's got to do. We do not profit anything when we strive to save our lives. Let's not get in His way while He's working! Not to mention God is holding this entire universe together at the same time He's taking care of us...!
Solomon said there is nothing better for man than to rejoice, and to do good in our lives, and that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor-it is the gift of God. I believe that yes, we have daily tasks to occupy us. But as believers, do we grumble and complain of the times and seasons we are in? Or do we rejoice? Philippians 4:4 tells us to "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!" I take that to mean...not matter what-no matter when. Have you looked up the definition of "always" lately? Go ahead. And Ecc. 3:12 says there is nothing better for man than to rejoice. So why are we moved in these times and circumstances to be depressed, downhearted, cast down, beaten down? Go ahead...sing the little ditty and get it stuck in your brain! Call a friend and go around a time or two-(yes, I mean actually sing the song in rounds)...see if your heart soars with life and joy! There's nothing better for man than to do this act of rejoicing..."Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice! Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice...Rejoice, Rejoice...and again I say rejoice. Rejoice, Rejoice and again I say rejoice...
Doing good in our lives is evidence of faith. I am not talking about dead works or the law or works mentality...I am talking about the two commandments that sum up the whole law! Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. If Jesus is the head and we are the body...we need to be doing what the head tells us to. We need to be loving, loving, loving and rejoicing, rejoicing, rejoicing!!! Colossians 1:10 tells us "that you may have a walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;"...so you see...we are to be fruitful in every good work!!!
Last but not least, verse 12 in Ecclesiastes chapter 3 says: that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor-it is the gift of God. While there is no eternal benefit of labor in the flesh, when we are filled with God's Holy Spirit and are walking with the Spirit every conscious moment and worshiping the Father in spirit and truth-our labor in the Lord is not in vain!
1 Corinthians 15:58 says: "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."
Eating and drinking is also a benefit not only of our physical labor in this world-but we can enjoy spiritual "food" as well. In John 4:34 Jesus said to His disciples: "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work."...and oddly enough...He goes on...and see what He says in (v35): "Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest: Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! (v36) "And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. (v37) "For in this the saying is true: 'One sows and another reaps." (v38) "I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors."
So there you have it...yes, while we live and labor on this planet, we have the benefit of God's wonderful blessings for our bodies, and the good of all our labor is the gift of God-for us to enjoy. But I cannot help seeing the spiritual message for us in it all. Verse 36 of John 4 says that when we reap in the harvest for the Lord, we receive wages, and we gather fruit for eternal life and then we see rejoicing (as mentioned in Ecclesiastes...) with those who labor with us. Rememer Ecclesiastes 3:10? Solomon said he had seen the God-given task with which we are to be occupied?
Now take your daily times and tasks and labors to the Lord who put eternity in our hearts. Start your day asking His Holy Spirit to make something of it. Remember to rejoice always! Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways and He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6) Trust God to handle all the beginnings and endings. And enjoy the fruit of your labor in Him-it's not in vain. He's coming soon! He's coming for all those that love His appearing. Let us not live as those who have no hope. All our times are in His hands...rejoice and be glad that Almighty God is working on your behalf to make all things beautiful in its time.
Rejoice and Praise God for the home-sweet things as you know your labor in the Lord is not in vain! God desires to direct your paths as you go about your day-go to Him and let Him guide you!
I know this is long...but if anyone is interested-I shared the next part of yesterday's story from Aunt Sophronia!
More from "The Complete Home"...
"I believe," cried Helen, "that it is all my servant that makes the difference. You, Miriam, are not plagued with a girl. I dare say, Hannah has no order about things, and then, she is so slow!"
"But you, as her mistress," I said, "have a right and a duty to arrange an order, and see that it is maintained; if there is no order, of course she will be slow; disorder is the slowest worker in the universe. Have you any fixed time for anything? When do you eat breakfast?"
"When the breakfast is ready," cried Helen, "and the same for dinner and tea; only Hannah is prompter with tea, so that she can get out."
"And on what day do you make your bread?"
"Why, when the bread runs out, and usually Hannah 'forgot' or 'didn't know,' or something of that kind, and we have a day of baker's bread."
"And do you not look after the state of the bread-box and see that Hannah minds her work? Do you not know how many loaves you need weekly, and have a regular day for baking, one day before the bread is out, so you will not cut hot bread and gain dyspepsia thereby, while you waste bread? And what day have you for sweeping?--what day for washing?"
"Well, I try to have Monday for washing-day, and Friday for sweeping, but sometimes we find ourselves out of all pie, cake and bread, and then we have to make a change. And if I go off Friday morning expecting Hannah to sweep, I come home, and perhaps she has done something else--dear knows what; and then Saturday all is flurry, and I have no decent place to sit down to my mending, and it is put off until the next week, and then I am tired, and there is a great deal of it to do, and so it goes on."
"All the result of not having a time and place for everything; a lack of plan and energy on your part, Helen, is ruining your servant, and your domestic comfort. A Household should have laws like the Medes and Persians, which never change; and privileges which are like an Englishman's house, an impregnable castle," I said.
"Miriam," I asked, "what and how much do you read and study?"
"We take two monthly magazines and a daily paper, and I read those regularly; and Mark and I enjoy talking over the news and the various articles at meal-times."
"Why," exclaimed Helen, "I haven't read the paper since I was married, and Frank might as well talk about the affairs of the moon as of daily news, for all I know of it!"
"Then Frank will begin to go from home for company," I said; "by all means read, Helen, and have something to talk about beyond Hannah and the butcher."
"Go on, Miriam: what else do you read?" said Hester.
"I arrange for an hour each morning, except on Saturday, for study, and I spend half of that hour on French, and the other half on History. It is very little, and would not satisfy such a student as you, Hester, but it serves to keep those studies fresh, and I gain a little. Then I have always on hand a book or two: the popular book of the month, or something that Mark has read and likes, or that some one who knows about books has recommended to me, and that keeps my mind fresh and active. I get what books and articles I can on housekeeping, on cooking, furnishing, decorating, repairing, window gardening, anything that will serve to improve our home at small cost, or save expense, and introduce variety; and I have set up a scrap-book of valuable items,"
"But where do you get the time? for I often find you at sewing or fancy work," said Helen.
"I took from the very first an hour a day for sewing; that so far does for my mending, and keeps me with work in advance finished. When I feel inclined for fancy work, and on rainy days when there are no calls, and in evenings when friends drop in, I can do a good deal, if it is all at hand in my basket. I go out every day, sometimes in the morning, to give the orders at the grocer's and market, and as I keep a list of needs in my kitchen-book, I am saved the trouble of frequent errands; and one afternoon in a week I give to social duties, calls, visits, and the like; and so I find time for everything."
"Because you have a time for everything. Are not your meals at a set time? Don't you have a set time for each kind of house-work?" asked Hester.
"On Monday my laundress comes early. She washes our clothes--of course it is a small wash. While they are drying, she scrubs, blacks the stove, cleans windows, or does anything I want her to do. Then in the afternoon she irons the clothes; after tea I mend them and put them away. She is a strong, active woman, able to give a good day's work, and I pay her considerably over the ordinary price for the sake of thoroughness and despatch. She finds everything ready for her work when she comes, and with a cup of hot coffee for her dinner, she gets done without over-fatigue."
"Why Hannah dawdles all day over just our little wash," complained Helen.
I resolved to find out some time the "reason why" of Hannah's "dawdling."
"Friday is my sweeping-day; and on Saturday I bake bread, pies, cake, apples, a variety of things," said Miriam.
"And you do all your own work besides?" asked Helen.
"The laundress' boy comes to clean the front-steps and the grass-plot--he does any little thing I need."
"Dear me! and your hands don't look any the worse for it, either," said Helen.
"I take care of them," said Miriam. "I have a mop for the dishes, and a high-handled scrubbing brush for pots and pans, and a cork two inches high for polishing the knives-and nothing is so nice for knives as corks for the bath and brick and the after rubbing-and I use gloves when I sweep and dust, and whenever else I can. I shall not sacrifice my hands needlessly, nor shall I sacrifice my work to save my hands."
"Now tell my why you don't keep a girl?" asked Helen.
"As a matter of economy," said Miriam. "Mark has only a thousand a year. We could keep a girl, and he urged it; but I am amply able without the least injury to myself to do this work. If we kept a servant, with the wages, the board of the servant, and the fact that she would, however well watched, be less saving than I am, our living expenses would be increased by one-third. Without the servant we can lay up something, and we can buy more books, and give ourselves various little gratifications. There was, in fact, nothing to sacrifice but a little false pride, and I dared to be independent."
Why is it that maids are bound to be less economical than their mistresses?" asked Hester.
"Because their money is not invested in the housekeeping," said I; "the dollar saved will not go into their pockets; so, even with average honesty and economy, they will throw away far more than the mistress. Human honesty is a curious affair, and embraces very many degrees."
"You remind me of our Nora," said Hester. "I met her going out with a pail of milk: she said, 'Sure the bye left me Ann Skinner's pint, and her me quart. Troth I'm on me way to change the same.' 'I should think,' I said, 'that Ann would have seen the error before now; he left her the milk first,' 'An' why should Ann see it?' says Nora: 'she has the quart.'"
"Just give me, Miriam," I said, after we had laughed at Nora's logic, "a sketch of your day,"
"We rise at seven; by eight breakfast is ready, and while it was cooking I had set the table and put my bedroom in order. Always by half-past nine, sometimes sooner, my work is done. Then I take my hour's study. After that I sometimes go out for shopping, or leaving orders. If not, I sew an hour. Then I begin to get dinner, and intermixed with that comes generally half an hour or so, while things are cooking, when I can read. After dinner is out of the way I dress up for the afternoon; if I have not been out in the morning, I go out then; if I have, or it rains, I have fancy-work or reading to occupy me. I do not usually cook anything for supper, except the tea. I have cake, fruit, cold meat, sandwiches, salads; there are plenty of nice, simple things; if there is a salad, I prepare it while I am getting dinner. Before I go to bed I go to the kitchen, see that the tea-kettle is filled, put the rice, or cracked wheat, for breakfast, to soak, and get the potatoes ready; this takes me only a few minutes and saves me a deal of time in the morning. If Mark had to be at his business before nine, or did not come home until the five o'clock dinner that some have, of course I should only get myself a lunch, and there would be a deal more time for the books or needle-work, but i have plenty of time as it is. Saturdays I neither study nor sew; I have the baking, which takes all the morning, and I go upstairs for a while in the evening to sort and mend the clothes for Monday's wash. Friday I sweep, and that uses up the time of the walk, the reading and the fancy-work. But I always have time to go anywhere with Mark, or to see our friends, or for anything extra. I never feel hurried at all-thanks to Mrs. Burr's rule, and yours, aunt, of having a set time for everything, and a place for everything."
Our conversation had extended past dinner and nearly through the afternoon.
----and so we end another excerpt of this chapter on "Order in the Home."----
God Bless you and Good Night!!