There is an occasion for everything,
and a time for every activity under heaven. Eccl. 3:1
Not that Kevin Bacon as Ren McCormack in Footloose wasn’t inspiring (clearly, he was), but it’s probably important to note that Solomon wasn’t trying to get the town to let the local high school have a senior prom when he wrote these words.
The context of Ecclesiastes 3 is Solomon’s melancholic realizations about life: we all die, and our pursuits and work die with us. Uplifting, right?
It’s an important point, though. Whether we use our time working, spending, or in a perpetual Netflix binge, we live in time, and time matters. Most of us prefer to live that time on the happy side of Solomon’s list, on the comfortable side of our own lists. Life is easier when you cut loose, footloose, kick off your Sunday shoes. But that’s missing the point.
God created time, and on His never-ending time-continuum, life on earth is just a blip. It’s a blip, but it’s a blip with immense purpose. So even the downer side of Solomon’s list, the uncomfortable side of yours and mine, is appropriate and ultimately points to a greater reality:
There is never a time for not doing what God has called you to do.
In Eph. 5:16, Paul took Solomon’s melancholy and put a powerful twist on it: make the most of time, because the days are evil.
Because the days are evil, because sometimes there’s crying, uprooting, tearing down, war, and silence – make the most of it. When you consider He has put eternity in our hearts (v. 11), it is the only appropriate response.
A little over a year ago was a time for me to step away from personal writing. For me, that meant setting this blog aside, along with a few other things. Without going into all the reasons why, it was the appropriate time for that decision. What wasn’t appropriate, though, was that it became a setting aside altogether. Indefinitely.
Other pursuits – good ones, even, that had me using the gifts God has given me, but not in the way He planned for this time – took priority because it was easier, more comfortable, and it felt safer being on that side of Solomon’s list. I was doing good things, but underneath it all, fully knowing it fell short.
I wasn’t making the most of the time.
And now I’m getting back to it. But the challenge for me is the same as it is for you. If you’re a writer, write. If you’re a musician, make music. If you’re a speaker, speak. Servants should serve, teachers should teach, hosts should host, givers should give, leaders should lead. Take a break from a particular activity if it’s appropriate for a time, but don’t ever stop living out who God has made you to be in the ways He has made plain to you.