What does the scripture mean when it says there is a time for everything under heaven? Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 is a popular verse in the scriptures which deals with the natural circles of life and fate that affects all men. It says:
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Why do we have to do things at specific time and seasons? What is the auspicious timing for us to act and carry out our daily activities? The questions keep rolling in. But one thing is very clear, and that is the fact that doing things at the right time and season bring significant positive results to us; the things done at the right time in good season have tendency to endure and to last longer. We are safer and stronger when we do things at the right time and season. This is very much so because the scripture says that; “God has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). This means that our activities must be done at the right time and season in order to be profitable and enduring and to bring to pass the beautiful plan and purpose of God for us. What is this season or timing? The season or time is a spiritual undercurrent running through nature and greatly affecting everything that we do. This undercurrent sets out the timing for all things under the sun, and not keeping to the season will reduce our opportunities to actualize our desires. The scripture opens up this touching point in Ecclesiastes 9:11 thus:
“ I saw something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong; neither is the bread to the wise, nor the wealth to the intelligent, nor the favor to the skillful; rather, time and chance happen to all” – Ecclesiastes 9:11
Here the scripture is further saying that, still under the sun, you will find that the; the fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time. Beloved, starting from today, pray fervently for God to align you with the right time and season so that His plan and purpose will be fulfilled in your life.
The seasons of time and fate will rule our life notwithstanding our beliefs or religious ideologies. It has nothing to do with what we think or our assumptions; it is ruled basically by God’s spirit for our good and wellbeing. The scriptures say that, from the tribe of Issachar, there were 200 leaders of the tribe with their relatives. All these men understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take (1 Chronicles 12:32). Therefore, these times and seasons are quite real, and do affect our lives daily. How do we key into the seasons and flow with them to ensure success? First, we must understand the meaning of the seasons. For instance:
a. “A time to be born and a time to die” (Ecclesiastes 3:2)
A time to be born means the time when humans are naturally born into the world. It is a period which affords significant safety for everyone. But beyond that, it also significantly means a favorable time for starting something new or something unique. So if you desire to commence something new, such as a new business, signing a contract, or starting a venture, this is the most auspicious moment for that. Conversely, a time to die means a time of less safety, or when due to unforeseen circumstances, people are just prone to accidents – whether domestic accidents, factory accidents or motor accidents. Apart from these, it significantly means a period of general breakdown or washing away. During this period, the season is not favourable for setting up a new business, or converting an idea to something concrete. It follows therefore that anything new commenced during this period has a tendency to either collapse or be completely eroded and broken down. This means that if we defer the commencement of a new business or venture, until the times are right for it, our business will surmount natural forces acting against it success.
b. “A time to plant and a time to uproot” (Ecclesiastes 3:2)
This goes beyond the natural period of planting crops and harvesting them. A time to plant also significantly means a time to expand a business, plant a ministry or a church, to fix new trade equipment in your business or workplace, a time to relocate from one city to another, a time to confirm appointment, a time to initiate change generally. Conversely, to uproot is not too favorable to anyone of the activities listed above. During the uprooting period, an opposite undercurrent is at work. This opposite undercurrent is not bad in itself, but it’s just that the timing or season is favorable for something else. A season to uproot would be good for disengagement from employment, canceling a bad contract, a time to restructure your business or your home by removing all forms of indiscipline and bad habits. Like the children of Issachar, I pray that God will today empower you with the gift and spirit of discernment so you may understand all the seasons and times for your benefit and the benefit of humanity.
c. A time to kill and a time to heal (Ecclesiastes 3:3)
A time to heal is most favorable time for surgery, time to administer drugs on a protracted ailment; time to break the yoke relating to a recurrence of any disease; time for a routine medical checks,; time for counseling, condolence visits, a time to visit, strengthen, and pray with those in the prisons, hospitals, orphanages or those who are currently suffering morally and spiritually, etc. A time to kill on the other hand, is not so suitable for attending to hospital emergencies; if it can wait, it is usually beneficial to shift periods of surgery or very serious medical exercise to a much more favourable period. Therefore, a time to kill is a season that favors termination of life or discontinuation of a venture. In business, a time to kill is suitable for the termination of employment, termination of a contract, or severance of a strategic alliance. This time is most unsuitable for the negotiation of a new term of an existing contract; it is not suitable to amend an existing contract. For the farmers, it’s a time for clearing the bush, gardens, or farms in readiness for the planting season. For those in the law enforcement, this period favors taking very serious punitive measures with adverse effects on life and properties. It’s a time to rebuke in strong terms. For most of us, it’s a time to make efforts to drop bad habits. The undercurrent during this period seeks to restrict life, or terminate life without notice. Therefore, it’s a time to restrict our frequent travels and trips. It’s a period we should avoid unnecessary risks, for any little mistake can cause pain and losses.
d. A time to tear down and a time to build (Ecclesiastes 3:3)
A time to tear down favors breaking down of structures. Aside from breaking down buildings, it also favors renovation work; it is most unsuitable for construction work as buildings put up during this period have tendency to develop cracks, leakages and general structural defects. It is not quite certain how these things happen, but the fact remains that the spiritual forces at the time do not permit good workmanship. Therefore, every serious construction work must be delayed till a time to build. A time to build is also suitable to start a relationship – especially, a business relationship.
e. A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance (Ecclesiastes 3:4)
A time to laugh and dance is suitable for merriment and celebration. Conversely, a time to weep and to mourn is good for fasting, repentance, mourning the dead etc. It is most improper to fix any form of celebration during the season of mourning and weeping; the spiritual forces at that time will affect celebration, and in fact can turn celebration into mourning and weeping.
f. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them (Ecclesiastes 3:5)
A time to gather stones is most auspicious for holding meetings, conferences, workshops, and most activities where people are likely to come together to forge a common agenda. It is also a very good time to sell stocks and reap your profits. This time favors gaming, lottery and those legal activities capable of yielding good and quick returns. It is a time for counting your blessings. A time to scatter stones on the other hand is very good time to invest or buy stocks and other multiple businesses, in order to sell at a later date. For those in the ministry, a time to scatter stones is good for sending out missionaries for evangelism or other soul saving mission.
g. a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing (Ecclesiastes 3:5 )
A time to embrace is most auspicious for employing the services of workers; a time for forming friendship or creating a strategic alliance; a time for reconciliation of disputes . It is a good time for marriage. You have to be careful not to take any marriage vows during the time, “to refrain from embracing.” Most marriages entered during this period have problems overcoming crisis.
h. A time to search and a time to give up (Ecclesiastes 3:6)
A time to search is most suitable to carry out investigation or inquiry, a time to study something new or seek for extra knowledge, a time to actually look for any missing items – including missing persons, a time for window shopping, if you like, a time to search for a new apartment, or search for a new job- either through sending out of applications, or making direct contacts. A time to give up is a time to be passive, and is very good for contemplation and meditation.
i. A time to keep and a time to throw away (Ecclesiastes 3:6).
This season is most suitable for self-examination. A time to keep is a period of general assessment of your life, with a view to determining what to retain or keep. When taking decision during this period, the forces will work with you to ensure your choices are right. Conversely, a time to throw away is a season whose forces work in opposing direction.
j. a time to tear and a time to mend (Ecclesiastes 3:7)
This period regulates the reconstruction of existing prospects, to make them more profitable. This period is suitable for overhauling a business, a piece of machinery; relationships etc. This season favors trying to rework a project, rework a proposal, and an agreement etc. so as to make it more profitable. It’s a time for corrections and making amends to the vital things of life. Conversely, a time to tear does the direct opposite of mending.
k. time to be silent and a time to speak (Ecclesiastes 3:7)
A time to speak is the time most suitable for blowing one’s trumpet, canvassing or advertising; publicity or making a defense of some sort. Conversely, a time to be silent is a period to refrain from talking or making pronouncement on vital issues. The forces operating during the time of silence are quite overbearing and not suitable for important pronouncement. It is better to remain silent until the period is over.
l. A time to love and a time to hate (Ecclesiastes 3:7)
A time to love is a time to start a love relationship, or even a time to consummate love. A time to hate is not so auspicious. Rather, a time to hate has a prevailing spiritual undercurrent which does not support the exchange of love feelings. Most love relationships started during this period often end with disappointment. A time to hate kills affection and removes emotion from the mind and heart of men. It leaves men and women bare of feelings. When the season of hate ongoing, be very careful and refrain from quarrels with your love ones, for most quarrels started during this period are usually difficult to resolve.
m. A time for war and a time for peace (Ecclesiastes 3:8)
A time of peace is a time to resolve crisis and to hold out an olive branch. Note that you cannot attempt to make peace during the period of war, the peace accord will definitely break down irretrievably; the undercurrent at the war season will greatly oppose the peace moves. Conversely, to attempt enforcement of discipline or fight to reclaim a right during the peace season will not work out well. The calm and peaceful forces at play during the time would create an atmosphere of sentiment, which will greatly weaken the zeal and power to make enforcement.
At times, we wondered why certain things happen the way they do; it is because we are oblivious of the influence of the natural seasons of time and fate on our daily activities. Beloved, there is time for everything under the sun; except by some divine intervention, it is usually difficult to change some of the things done wrongly in a particular season. Many years ago, Israel would do nothing without first consulting with the elders of the tribe of Issachar for advice and proper direction. The situation is different today; so many of us do things at wrong times thereby creating a hinge in the manifestation of the promises of God in our lives. The will of God manifest in due seasons. Galatian 6:9 says, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” The phrase in this verse that is critical to successful reaping is, “in due season.”
In order to witness the fruits of our labour, either in prayers or in our works, we have to wait until the season of reaping. Therefore beloved, do not grow weary in well doing. God does His things within season for He is the author of the seasons. Interestingly, souls are saved in due season. This is because preaching the word of God to the hearts of men is like sowing seeds. The seeds only begin to sprout and to bring forth fruits in due season. You can force it all you want; you are not going to change the season. Also, bringing souls to Jesus needs the approval of the Holy Spirit to actualize that. Souls are not saved by the will of men no matter how good your soul winning pitch is. God does the saving in due season. Also, for those who desire to enter the ministry, remember, you may have a real heart for the ministry; but it is the Lord who calls you and he will not enable you and put you into the ministry until he is ready for you. No matter how much you may want to do something for God, you must wait until your due season. Beloved, commencing from today, ask for God’s direction to work in due season, and to reap in due season as well. Remember this always, “God answers prayers in due season; therefore, give the Lord time to bring forth his fruit in His season” (Psalm 1:3).
Beloved, starting from today, pray fervently for God to align you with the right time and season so that His plan and purpose will be fulfilled in your life.