This is Pastor Tim’s newspaper article that appeared in the Evening Leader on Tuesday, May 31, 2022
There is a book in the Old Testament called Ecclesiastes. It’s a book that we don’t read from very often because it is a sad book. It is a book of teachings from King Solomon written near the end of his life. If you remember King Solomon, he was the King of Israel known for his great wisdom. As a young man, he asked God for one thing and it was tremendous wisdom so that he could be a good king to God’s people. If you read about the life and times of King Solomon, you will learn that he ruled over one of the most prosperous nations to ever be on the face of the earth. The only thing that Solomon is known for more than his incredible wisdom is his incredible wealth. God blessed him for asking for the tool he needed to rule over God’s people.
That incredible wisdom brought with it a terrible price, and we see that price in the book of Ecclesiastes. As a young man, Solomon wrote the Song of Songs, and as a young father, he wrote the book of Proverbs. Solomon’s earlier writings show optimism and satisfaction. However, late in his life, he wrote Ecclesiastes, and you can see that the optimism he had in his earlier books had faded, and now he was a bitter old man. He had seen everything there was to see, learned everything there was to learn, and experienced everything there was to experience. He had travelled to foreign lands, won the hearts of princesses, and was respected by his people. The more he saw of the world, the more disenchanted he was with it.
In the book of Ecclesiastes, he wants to give a clear warning: there is nothing on this earth more valuable than time. Solomon had lived the most blessed life of any person ever on this planet. Nevertheless, as he got older he realized that pursuing the things of this world was meaningless, chasing the wind, as he calls it.
In chapter 3, there is a poem where Solomon breaks down our lot in life. The poem is one of the more famous passages of scripture. It was even written into a song back in 1965 by a group called the Byrds called Turn, Turn, Turn. You can read Solomon’s poem in Ecclesiastes 3 and it is a not so subtle reminder that there is time for everything on earth. The question that Solomon’s poem challenges us to ask is, “Are we giving time to all of the things in this poem?”
So often we convince ourselves that we don’t have time, but I am questioning whether or not that is true. Do we really not have time, or do we not make the time? How often do we deny ourselves something that we convince ourselves we don’t have time for only to waste time doing something meaningless? That is the chasing the wind that Solomon speaks about in his book. It is a challenging question because we have time for anything we deem as important. It becomes a question of priority. How often do we trade the chance to do something meaningful to sit and watch TV or play on our phone? It is really an embarrassing question if you are willing to be honest.
This past week, I spent a lot of time doing something I did not have time for: VBS. Each night, we had around 60 kids attend, and I was in charge of the games. It was exhausting and took up every night last week. You could say that I wasted a lot of hours last week watching kids fall over pool noodles and throw frisbees into a basket. There were some moments when it felt like I was doing just that. But then I wonder what I would have been doing if I had not been at there. Looking back, not being at VBS would have been the waste of time. Because I was wiling to give my time to be there, I had the chance to interact with the kids and give them a positive experience.
King Solomon decided that there is a time for every purpose under heaven, and he was right. The question is, what purpose will we choose? Solomon had lived the best life this world could have ever offered him, and his memoir was about how much time he had wasted chasing the wind. He was still agonizing over what he did with the time he was given.
I have had many deathbed conversations with people. Never once have I had one person who regretted anything they had done. Sure, some sins were confessed, but by far the most common thing I hear from people who realize they are at the end is what they regret not doing. There is almost no exception.
Don’t spend time chasing the wind. Invest your time in things that will have meaning beyond your lifetime. That is the investment of time that truly lasts.