Scripture: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Today’s scripture comes from the book of Ecclesiastes. According to Derek Kidner and John H. Stek, the writer is unidentified in the book, and no time is given to the writing of the book. The writer is known as the teacher.
This teacher reveals what he discovered about the meaninglessness of every human endeavor without God at the center of one’s life. Bottom line: Life in the world is under God. What begins with meaningless, ends with “Remember your Creator and fear God and keep God’s commandments.” The author understands that human wisdom has limits to its powers when it attempts to go it alone — without God.
Human beings cannot fundamentally change anything. All human efforts remain under the government of God’s sovereign appointment. No matter what people do, it’s all meaningless and cannot impact change. Humans have little or no control over time and changes. The eternal God sovereignly determines all of life’s activities.
The teacher tells us fourteen opposites listed in Ecclesiastes 3:2-8, that we have no control over them. We have no control over when a baby is born and when a person dies, when to plant and when to uproot, when to kill and when to heal, when to tear down and when to build, when to weep and when to laugh, when to mourn and when to dance, when to scatter stones and when to gather them, when to embrace and when to not embrace, when to search and when to give up, when to keep and when to throw away, when to tear and when to mend, when to be silent when to speak, when to love and when to hate, when to wage war and when to make peace. It’s all a divine appointment. God is in total control.
It may be hard to change. Nevertheless, change is inevitable. Whether hard or easy, change gonna come. Why is change hard? Here are at least three requirements for change.
First, change requires honesty, not hypocrisy. Don’t be like the man who said, “I had my patience tested. I’m negative.” Be positive. Positive change requires patience with pretentious, hardheaded, hardhearted, dishonest people. Positive change requires the ability to pivot. Move with God!
Second, change is a matter of the heart. To change, your heart must change. If you desire to change, follow God’s command.
To paraphrase Deuteronomy 15:7-11, “If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Open your hand wide to them. Give generously to needy persons. You must open your hand generously to your fellow Israelites, to the needy among you, and to the poor who live with you in your land. This very thing will lead to the Lord your God’s blessing you in all you do and work at.”
Thirdly, change requires hope. To change, you must have hope. They said the Biden/Harris ticket could not win. He was too old — 77-years-old — the oldest candidate ever to run for the office of president. She was a Black/South Asian woman from Oakland, CA, who graduated from a historically Black university. But, we hoped they could win.
Stacey Abrams and other Georgians put their hope in actions. They registered and educated 800,000 new voters. It was a record voter turnout even amid a pandemic. The Biden/Harris ticket garnered over 78 million votes! He received 306 electoral votes! “Hope fuels victory in the face of overwhelming odds,” said one writer.
Faith believes; hope anticipates. Faith trusts; hope sustains. Hope sustains us when we suffer and while we wait. The Holy Spirit helps us when we pray.
People are not interested in doing things the way we used to do them. God is not interested in doing things the way we used to do them. God is doing new things! So, keep hope alive! Change! In the words of Senate Kirsten Gillibrand, “I hope this is a season when goodwill prevails.”
I hope this is a season when we allow God to work more effectively in our lives. Hope springs eternal! I hope this is a season filled with miracles. Hope springs eternal! I hope this is a season when you allow God to do the impossible through you. Hope springs eternal!
I hope this is a season of BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goals! Hope springs eternal! Keep on hoping, no matter what the odds. Hope springs eternal!
Change can be hard— but not when you put your hope and trust in God. Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Father, if it’s your will, take this cup of suffering away from me. Nevertheless, not my will but your will must be done.”
He was condemned to death; He was bruised and beaten; He was nailed to the cross; He was pierced in his side; He suffered, bled, and died; He died on the cross; His body was placed in a borrowed tomb; But, early on Sunday morning, He got up with all power in His hands!
He was changed from mortal to immortality. We shall be changed. I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruptible, and this mortal must put on immortality.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
Let’s change. Let’s change together.