All Our Yesterdays and Tomorrows (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-22)


Submitted by Andy McIlvain.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-22

Macbeth Act 5 Scene 5
There would have been a time for such a word.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

We see in this quote from Shakespeare’s Macbeth that the theme of Ecclesiastes is felt and expressed by all men in all of history. For fallen sinful human-beings, life is hard. It often starts that way and remains so. When we accept Christ as Savior, the world at large (the powers and principalities, visible and invisible) perceives our counter cultural life. As a result, life can and usually does become difficult even unto death for many Christians in our world.

We travel through his dysfunctional world from birth to death as strangers and misfits. Understanding life is elusive, perplexing as it slips through our fingers and then it is over.

Ecclesiastes presents bad theology up front and concludes that life without God is meaningless! Ecclesiastes is not a model for living, but a wakeup call to those who pursue happiness and meaning on this earth in this life.

Humans have always favored distraction and diversion over the hard and difficult realities of life. Our age today provides limitless distraction to the point of uselessness and death. People today can choose to waste their life with ease and are assisted in doing so by many things and many people.

We are wise to respect times rhythms of dawn, morning, afternoon, evening, and night. Six days to work and one to rest, which makes a week. Weeks become months. The months turn into years.

You cannot leverage or master the time bound circumstances of life to your advantage. It will not happen. No matter how clever or smart, no matter your income or your popularity (on Facebook or elsewhere), no matter your achievements, NOTHING will make you happy.

Our lives are part of a huge story and we only see a small part of it. God sees the beginning from the end and operates outside of the time that constrains us. David Gibson in his book Living Life Backwards says, “Your life is on loan for a short while and one day God will call time and take it back.” It is vital that you understand that your life is made up of seasons. There is a time for everything, and, once it is gone, you cannot relive it or recreate it. We are time bound. If we are living with despair and difficulty, God is ready to help. Only God knows where all the pieces of your life go.

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