God’s Timing and Purposes –Ecc. 3:1-8
Pastor Vicky MootsKingman, Kansas
Ecc. 3:6a: “A time to get, and a time to lose…” We spend our entire life accumulating things and never seem to be satisfied that we have enough. Of course, there are certain things that we have to buy when we are starting out on our own or when we get married, so that is “a time to get. However, no matter how much we “get” in life, we lose it all when we die. What about in between these times? Is there “a time to lose” before we die?
In Mark 8:34-36 Jesus told the people, “…Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
Some people say that we need to just “get a life,” but the only way to “get a life” is to lose the one we have now, the one that is only temporary, and exchange it for one that is eternal.
In Matt. 19:16-22 we read the story of a rich, young ruler who came to Jesus to ask what he must do to have (or “to get”) eternal life. Because he was rich, he was used to being able “to get” anything he wanted. However, he was greatly disappointed when Jesus told him in v. 21 that he would need to sell everything he had (because he was trusting in it) and give it to the poor. Verse 22 tells us, “But when the young man heard that saying, he went away very sorrowful: for he had great possessions.” He was not willing “to lose” everything that he had been able “to get” in this life in order “to get” eternal life. Sadly, at that point, his earthly riches seemed more important to him than his soul.
In contrast, we read in Matt. 4:18-20 where Jesus called Peter and Andrew to be fishers of men, “And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.” Then in v. 21 He called James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were in a ship with their father. Verse 22 tells us, “And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.” So, we see that these men, unlike the rich, young ruler, were willing to lose their life (to leave their livelihood and their family behind) in order to find it in Jesus and become His disciples.
The apostle Paul described his own “time to lose” in Phil. 3:7-8. However, in the previous three verses he listed the things of which he had been boasting in the natural and that he had considered gain prior to his conversion. But one day on the road to Damascus, to persecute Christians, he came face to face with Jesus in a vision. The light of it was so bright that he fell to the ground and lost his eyesight for three days, until God restored it. That was the first thing recorded that Paul lost, but it would not be the last. God opened his blinded eyes, both physically and spiritually, so that he could see clearly who Jesus was. As a result, Saul the persecutor, became Paul the apostle, for he chose to deny himself, take up the cross, and follow Jesus.
In Phil. 3:7-8 Paul states, “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.”
Are we willing to lose all that we hold dear to us in order to win Christ? We may not actually have to lose everything we have, as Paul did, but we need to not hold on to the things we possess and the people we love in this world more tightly than we do to Jesus. Jesus must take first place in our lives. He must become our first love.
Jesus, Himself, willingly experienced “a time to lose,” and because of that, we can have the gift of salvation. In Phil. 2:5-8 Paul describes how that Jesus suffered the loss of all things, including His life, in order that we might have life. He left the riches and glory of heaven, and as we read in vs. 7-8, “took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
He did this for us, so that it would be our “time to get,” as Paul tells us in II Cor. 8:9: “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”
Our “time to get,” as far as spiritual riches and gain are concerned, is now; but first comes our “time to lose.” our time to follow the example of Paul and of Jesus, and to humble ourselves. It is “a time to lose” our old life, to forget those things which are behind, and to “…press toward the mark for the prize of the high [upward] calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14), for Jesus is coming soon.