Ecclesiastes 3:1-4, “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven— 2 A time to give birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. 3 A time to kill and a time to heal; a time to tear 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.”
When you read Ecclesiastes it is considered a part of wisdom literature. It is written by Solomon, who is one of the wisest people in the world, and in Ecclesiastes 3 Solomon in all his wisdom is looking at the pattern of life over and over and he draws these conclusions.
Ecclesiastes 3:9-11, “9 What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils? 10 I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves. 11 He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.”
In verse 9 Solomon asks, “What’s the profit?” Solomon is making an observation on the repetitive cycle of life never making any progress, so that in verse 9 Solomon asks, “What’s the point of life?”
In verse 10, “People have tasks to occupy themselves” like going to work, mowing the yard, changing diapers, making your bed, and every day you wake up and do these same tasks over and over, and it would be easy for a human being to ask, “Why, what’s the point?”
In verse 11 Solomon writes the reason human beings give into this endless cycle is because “God has set eternity in our hearts.”
I know this is a little abstract, but when Solomon uses the phrase “God has set eternity in our hearts” it means the God of Scripture has put an “endless desire” in our hearts to pursue growth.
Which means humanity will want to keep trying to improve, keep working to get better, keep growing to understand, and learning about life, but at the end of verse 11 we see that humanity will never find satisfaction.
Did you see the end of verse 11? In verse 11 Solomon writes, “Yes, God has set eternity in our hearts, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.” What! But, look at verses 12-13:
Ecclesiastes 3:12-13, “12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime; 13 moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor—it is the gift of God.
In Solomon’s wisdom he looks at life and he sees humanity chasing and chasing and chasing (9-11), and therefore concludes in verse 13, “Every man should eat, and drink, and see good in all his labor – it is the gift of God.”
If you just stopped with verses 9-11 you would go home depressed, but Solomon is looking at the toil of life over and over and says, “Yes, life is going to be hard, therefore, we need to celebrate as much as we can” because life is hard.
The difficulty of life isn’t just a “you problem.” It isn’t bad luck. It isn’t karma. It isn’t because God doesn’t care.
It is because in Genesis 1-2 the God of Scripture created everything to be perfect, but in Genesis 3 our sin distorted and destroyed everything God created to be good, so that today life is hard.
Sometimes there are going to be answers for those hardships, and sometimes there are no answers. Sometimes a door is going to close and a window isn’t going to open.
Listen, to me, sometimes there isn’t going to be a silver lining, and our hearts are going to ache from the difficulty of life, therefore, Solomon writes in verse 13, “Every human being should eat, and drink, and see good in all his labor.”
Do you know why we can celebrate?
The God of Scripture didn’t just see the toil of life and say to us, “Good luck!” No the God of Scripture makes a promise to put an end to our toil, and then enters into the toil of life, and His name is Jesus.
It is Jesus who absorbs our toil at the cross. It is Jesus who redeems our toil through the giving of His righteousness. It is Jesus who brings an end to our toil in His return.
So when you wake up tomorrow morning fatigued from the toil of life, let us not white knuckle our day, but instead turn to Jesus, who understands our toil, and ask for His help.
When you take time to celebrate His goodness in your life then let us not do so hurriedly and without purpose, but let us turn to the One who redeems the work of our hands and brings eternal purpose to our toil.
When you are overcome with grief and the hardship of life, let us not give into despair, but turn to Jesus who promises that One day all grief will come to an end.
James in the New Testament says, “Every good thing given is from above. Every perfect gift is coming down from the Father of lights.” No matter what pain we might be going through in life, we want to ask for His help to see those good gifts every day, multiple times a day, and celebrate.