Thanks to the Byrds, today’s scripture from Ecclesiastes might be the most familiar passage in the entire Old Testament.
You know you want to hear it ….
There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every thing under the heavens. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down, and a time to build. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them; a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces. A time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away. A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to be silent, and a time to speak. A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
What advantage has the worker from his toil? I have considered the task that God has appointed for the sons of men to be busied about. He has made everything appropriate to its time, and has put the timeless into their hearts, without man’s ever discovering, from beginning to end, the work which God has done.
Do we understand that our life on this earth is only temporary? If we are honest with ourselves we would have to admit that most of us don’t live our lives as if we believe that is case. Instead, we spend most of our energies storing up treasures for ourselves.
What has been, that will be; what has been done, that will be done. Nothing is new under the sun. Even the thing of which we say, “See, this is new!” has already existed in the ages that preceded us. There is no remembrance of the men of old; nor of those to come will there be any remembrance among those who come after them.
This life and everything in it is a gift of God. If we forget that we fall into error. We should live today as if today is our last. After all, one day will be our last.
To Jews in the time of Jesus, a tax collector was considered more lowly than vermin. Yet Jesus chose Matthew to be one of his disciples, his chosen ones. Why? Because with Jesus any sin can be forgiven so long as one believes in him and follows him.
As Jesus passed by, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
It is not the righteous that the Lord seeks. Instead, he chooses those who need his love and mercy. We are not worthy, but the Lord makes us worthy.