"Do You Have The Time?"

"Do You Have The Time?"

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

How many times have you been asked, "Pardon me, do you have the time?"
That is my question to you, today.
"Do you have the time?"

We have more free time than ever.
Our leisure time has increased almost five hours per week in the last three decades.
And yet, most people feel more rushed than ever.
Our free time has actually accelerated the pace of life.
With life whizzing by us, what can we do to make the most of life?

To make the most of this life, we must understand a few things about life.
In our Scripture passage, we are taught there is a time for every circumstance.

The writer of Ecclesiastes understood life.
He watched people and saw how they reacted to different circumstances.
He is saying that when things happen that we do not understand, it may have been
the right time for them.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

These verses illustrate an important truth about life.
There is a time for everything.
There is a right time for things we do not want to happen.

We are reminded that God is in control of everything in life.
We will experience the good and the bad.
This is something we must accept.

God is in control of everything.
The first verse explains all of the preceding verses.
To make the best of life is to understand that there is a right time for everything that happens.

There is a right time for the vital times in life. (Verses 2-4,8)

This passage begins by showing that God has set forth a right time for the vital times in life.
The two most important times for us are when we are born, and when we die.
These are vital times for us.
There is a right time for these two events.

Consider our needs between birth and death.
We need food, shelter, and companionship.

Farmers and gardeners know this.
There is a time to build and a time to tear down.

There is time to mourn and a time to weep.
We mourn and weep when things happen to people that we care about.
The mourning and weeping have to do with a funeral,
and the laughing and dancing are things that happen at weddings in their culture.
He is saying there is a time for everything, even weddings and funerals.

God is in control during the mountains and the valleys of our lives.
There is a time and purpose for everything under heaven.

There is another vital time for us.
This is in our relationships.
There is a time to love and a time to hate.
Hate is a terrible thing, but we should hate the things God hates.
There is a right time for love and hate.

Do you want to make the best of the time you have left?
Then remember, whenever happens, God is in control.

A lone survivor of a shipwreck washed up on a small, uninhabited island.
He cried out to God to save him.
He was there for many months.
Everyday, he would look out upon the ocean for help.
Help never came!

Eventually, he built a grass hut.
This was his shelter and safety.
This was his prized possession.
One day, after hunting for food, he arrived back to find his little hut in flames.
The smoke ascended to the heavens.

This was a horrible loss.
Months of work had gone up in flames.
He sat down and cried.

Early the next morning, he had an amazing surprise.
A ship came to his island and rescued him.

"How did you know I was here?" he asked the crew.

"We saw your smoke signal," they replied.

Though you may not think so, your present difficulty may be instrumental
to your future happiness.

Many have experienced heart-breaking tragedy, without ever thinking
that some possible good could come from it.
God will make it good for all who love Him. (Rom. 8:28)

There is time for the little things in life (v.'s 5-7)

We know this.
The first readers of this book would have known this as well.
There is a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them.

People would place stones where they did not want things to grow,
but they would remove stones from a field so they could grow food.
This is a little thing, but there is a right time for each of these.
A person would not scatter stones on a field he was trying to clear.

There is a time to search and a time to give up.
Sometimes, you look and look for something and it cannot be found.
Eventually, you need to give up.

There is a right time to continue searching, and there is also a right time to give up.
There is also a right time to keep things and a good time to throw stuff away.
There is a right time to rip up clothes to make rags,
and there is a time to mend them because they are still good.
I'm a pack rat.
I look at something and feel that I might need it someday.
There is a right time for each of these little things.

God is in control of the big things like being born and dying.
God is also in control of the little things.

There was even a right time to be late for church!

On the evening of March 1, 1950, choir practice was scheduled
in a local church in Beatrice, Nebraska.
As the pastor and his wife and daughter were ready to leave for the 7:30 meeting,
they discovered that the little girl had soiled her dress and needed to be changed.
So they would be late.

A high school sophomore had trouble with her geometry problems, and stayed to finish her work.
She was usually early.

Two sisters were delayed because their car wouldn't start.
Mrs. Schuster normally arrived at 7:20, but that night, her mother needed her,
so she had to stop there first.
One man took a nap and overslept.

And so, one after another were detained for various reasons.

At 7:25, due to leaking gas, the church blew up!

When everyone arrived a short time later, they were amazed to see
how their lives had been spared.

The fact that all of them failed to come on time --something that had never happened before
-- had to be more than a coincidence.
As far as they were concerned, the Lord had been their shield and protector.

There is a right time for everything!
To make the most of the times your life, you must be on intimate terms with God.
God has a plan for your life.
In this plan, you will know both joy and suffering.

You can make your own plans.

Do you know how to make the best of whatever happens?
When you give the control of your life to God,
He will enable you to make the best of even the most difficult times.

"Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from deceitful speech.
He must turn from evil and good; he must seek peace and pursue it.

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who are evil
." (1 Peter 3:10-12)

Make the best of your life by living for God.

"Sometimes life brings a lamp of gold
And puts it in our hands to hold:
Sometimes He brings us a step toward fame
And leaves it somewhere near our name:

Sometimes He brings true love to share
With someone who was waiting there:
Sometimes He brings us strength anew
To finish tasks that we must do.

But greatest of the gifts He brings-
A heart within that always sings
No matter what its fate may be,

A heart that's glad, a heart that's free,
A heart that knows if raindrops fall
The marigolds will then grow tall,

A heart that takes what comes each day
And makes the most of it some way,
Content to feel a Higher Power
Rules over every single hour,
A heart that knows as time goes by
It must not ask just how or why.

When life walks swiftly by its door
And gives a fellow traveler more,
A heart that knows some good shall come.

Not as it seemed to come to some
But slowly, surely from above,
In God's own time by His own love."

"Do you have the time?"

Do you have the time for God?

Give all the times of your life to God!
He will make the best of even the worst, when you are living your life for Him.

Sermon by Dr. Harold White