"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens." Ecclesiastes 3:1. "God makes everything beautiful in its season." Ecc. 3:11. "It Is Later Than You Think." By Robert W. Service, Poet "How Did It Get So Late So Soon?" Dr. Seuss
At some point, I believe that most of us have marveled at how time flies. The days, weeks, months and years seem to wiz by, and we are left to simply comment on the swift passing. I would venture to say that it is not often that we delve deeply into the subject because the reality is that we have no control over the passing of time. But, there have been those who have decided that rather than let time run away, they would take action at a given time to make a difference in their life or in the lives of others. Hence the phrase, "seize the time." To be honest, I first heard this phrase when uttered by Bobby Seale, Black Panther Party Member, many years ago. I am not sure whether he originated the phrase or popularized it, but it intrigued me. He titled his book, "Seize the Time." At the time, I was really young and did not quite understand what this meant. There was just something profound about this saying. I later learned that this phrase meant "to take advantage of a historic moment to launch some bold move." I suppose we can make use of this mantra, as there are periods in our existence when we step up and make things happen.
Back to where we are headed with this topic. Time can be defined as: 1. The indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole. 2. A point of time as measured in hours and minutes past midnight or noon. 3. The favorable or appropriate time to do something; the right moment.
Season: 1. A period of the year characterized by a particular climatic feature or marked by a particular activity, event or festivity. 2. A proper or suitable time.
It's often been said that "there is a time and a place for everything". Clearly, this is making reference to doing a given thing at a particular time and things have a proper place to be stored, arranged or to take place. e.g. You would not store electronics in the fridge. Further, there is a time when it is advantageous to have children (I am speaking biologically). The age of 70 would not be the time; I don't have to explain why. You know. In other words that would not be the season in one's life to make that choice. Oh, but when the season is right, what joy can be experienced from giving birth to new life. "God makes everything beautiful in its season." Ecc. 3:11.
However, everything is not so straightforward. We do not always know what time or season we are in and further, what should be happening at that time. I am not trying to confuse anyone, but this can be confusing. You see, what we do know is that we are here for a purpose and a season (time). So, there is a fixed season in God's purposes for our lives. For example, "He has fixed the "time" when "man is to be born" and to "die." Ecc 2. So, there is a lawful (appropriate) "time" for man to carry out his purposes and inclinations. There, I said it. All this means is that we are here for an allotted amount of time to accomplish what (purpose) we are here for and hopefully at the time that we are to accomplish it. (Hope I didn't lose you).
Remember Moses? He is the one who led the children of Israel out of bondage. They had been enslaved for 400 years under Pharaoh. Quite heroic, you would say. Moses was 80 years old at the time he was pressed into service. What? That was the time for him to be used by God for this herculean task. Why? Because when he was younger, he was too hot headed. Read Exodus 2:11-3:22. The point I am making is that there is a right time; when we are ready, willing (maybe not so willing) and able, emotionally and/or physically to do or experience certain things.
What time is it? Not the time on your watch, for sure. (Read Ecc. 3:1-8). We have an obsession for wanting to know what time it is. We have places to go, people to see, things to do, etc., etc. Often, we are just busy wasting time. Let me not speak for you. Perhaps you have mastered the effective use of time. But, for those of us who are still struggling, let me say loudly, "stop sleepwalking though life." Wait a minute! You might query. How can a person be so busy and sleepwalking at the same time? Let's define sleepwalking: walk around and sometimes perform other actions while asleep." You are doing stuff, but you are asleep. Please wake up! You are in a season.
What should you be doing at this time in your life? Is it time to act or to wait? A realistic assessment is that we do not have forever to get things done. "You may delay, but time will not." Benjamin Franklin. Let's be wise about it. Life is a gift, make the most of it. "But, what makes all the difference in the quality of our lives is whether we realize that the time we have between birth and death is a gift. It's all a gift." Gregory Knox Jones, Preacher. Let each season of your life find you maximizing this precious gift.
What season are you in? What are you going to do about it? Let's examine and get on track together.
1. Stop! Seriously, stop; pause, break, breathe. We move about harried and frenetic in keeping with the hectic times. I remember going to a parent/teacher conference many years ago for my daughter (who is now grown and a mother). She was a good student. However, the teacher told me that my daughter loved to talk. (I was thinking; why is this a problem?). She said that Lia talked so much, she did not realize she was talking; which can be problematic when instruction is going on. Needless to say, this was addressed. (By the way, Lia is now a teacher, and her students are in check). My point is that we are so busy being busy that we have not taken the time to assess what we are busy doing and whether we are making the best use of time. Where are you in terms of time and accomplishments? Have you given any thought to the goals or plans that you have set for yourself? How does being busy doing whatever you are doing fit in with those goals? Pull out those goals and compare them to what you are doing. Get back on track.
2. Look! Pay attention. Observe. Wake up! Wandering through life wastes a lot of time; and you miss a lot of the good stuff. Indulge me once more in another personal anecdote. Here goes. I recently returned from a cruise. While on the cruise, to counteract some of the weight to be gained from all the delectable food and beverages, I decided that I would get up early each morning and walk the track around the ship (most mornings I did). I did this by rote; looking straight ahead, wishing the walk to be done. One morning while walking, a fellow cruiser (who probably had the same idea) jogged past me, but slowed enough to say; "What a beautiful rainbow." My response was, "really, what rainbow?" "Look up." She said. I paused long enough to look up, and my eyes beheld a glorious rainbow extending across the sky with the vast ocean as a backdrop. Wow! That inspired more pep in my step. It made my morning. Ever think about what you might be missing by simply drudging through? Halt long enough to see and appreciate where you are at, what you are doing, and why.
3. Listen; hear with the intention of taking action. What is the point of listening to advice, wisdom, instruction, etc., that will lead to a better outcome for our lives and then do nothing? There must be follow through. Of course, it may take a while before action is taken because you may need a little more living and preparation before you are ready to act. (Refer back to Moses). But, active listening means that you are open to making needed changes at the appropriate time. Be reminded that "there is a time for everything under the sun." "Man has his appointed cycle of seasons and vicissitudes, as the sun, wind and water." Ecc 1…5-7. In between the sunrise and sunset of our lives are the seasons in which we can and should take action. Listen carefully, so that we can wisely understand the season we are in and the actions to be employed.
4. It's not too late, but it might be later than you think! Don't worry about it; this may be just the right season for you to blossom. Take a long, honest look at your life. Ask yourself and then you answer some hard questions. What season am I in? What should I be doing? Am I doing it? First, pray and seek wisdom. Then resolve that you are going to get up off your "rusty-dusty." (I am dating myself, but that's okay). If you are in retirement season, you can still do some great things. For example, you can start a foundation to help others who have not been as fortunate as you. Matthew 12:31. If not a foundation, you can contact agencies and start a letter writing campaign that will bring attention to some of the needs of the elderly. This came to mind because a friend mentioned to me that on a visit to a few elderly people, she noticed that they were not eating properly, and that they could use some help around the house. This could be your season to show love. Ecc. 3:8. I knew a Deacon (he is still around, but he relocated) who used to always say when reporting after a visit to the sick and shut in, "today is their turn, tomorrow might be yours." Tomorrow will be here before you know it.
You know what time it is! Don't prolong or procrastinate. Embrace each season and live purposefully in it. We have not and will not be able to master time despite our highly technological society. We did not create it. What we can do is seek guidance and act with confidence that God will give us discernment to determine and/or comprehend the time of life we are in, the wherewithal to plan, and the "how to" to best use this time to fulfill our purpose, all the while enjoying (even with the ups and downs that accompany) each season that we are blessed to experience. "I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live." Ecc. 3:12. Don't miss the opportunity to be present and productive in each season.
Here's to living your blessed/best life no matter the season!
Note: You may need some help around planning to maximize each season. Please join me at the upcoming retreat on October 26, 2019, at the Hyatt New York, Yonkers, NY. See flyer attached. Thank you. Be blessed.