Oct 16-17, 2021
From the Pastor’s Desk: Rev. Simon Lee

Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,

This is the third article on Ecclesiastes 3 on “In His Time.” We have looked at “Appointed time vs Appropriate time,” “Life’s Certainties and Our Responses,” and now “The Ultimate Purpose of Life,” drawn mainly from Ecclesiastes 3:9-13.  My hope and prayer is that we will understand more about our timeless God and see how He works in our time and space.

  1. Life without God is profitless toil (9)

We all want to “profit” in the things we do. Solomon was clear to state that life without is endless and profitless toil. There is ultimately no real gain (1:3; 2:11) in man’s own effort and hard labour, if it is done without God. In this light, work is just “burden” that is joyless, just busy-ness.

Work is important to all of us, it is the means by which we meet our needs. But when work is just that, repetitive chores, then we can see why people wants “Freedom 55” to enjoy life. This is not the same as saying work is meaningless, it is saying life without God is profitless toil. Even though we may be able to earn a lot of money, it is ultimately “profitless” as we may lose our health, our relationships, and our life in working ceaselessly without rest and without purpose.

  1. Life with God is beautiful in its time (10-11a)

“The business that God has given” he makes “beautiful in its times.”  God in His providential plans and sovereign control has an appropriate time for everything and every activity. God’s design is inscrutable, timely and wonderful, in God’s special way. As we have seen previously, God has an appointed time and an appropriate time for everything and He also makes everything beautiful in God’s perfect time.

  1. Life in God is linked to unfathomable eternity (11b)

God has put eternity in the hearts of men, and we can see that people all have a longing, desire and yearning to know the purpose of life which is found only in God. As Augustine said, “God has made man with a God-shaped vacuum, and man shall find no rest till he finds it in God.” Human toil is profitless and meaningless when it is outside the eternal plan of God, a plan that will not be fully comprehended by humans until we enter eternity.

It is a joy to see baptismal candidates in their testimony express their joy in recognising that when they are in God’s eternal plan, they find the ultimate purpose in their lives. There is real satisfaction in God and there is peace, security and assurance in eternal life.

  1. Life in God is the gift of real enjoyment of life from God (12-13)

Meanwhile life on earth is a gift from God to human beings as long as we live (5:18; 8:15). We can enjoy life as God enables as we find our ultimate satisfaction in God. If anyone eats and drinks and finds joy in all his work, it is a gift of God as he live his life in God. The Westminster Shorter Catechism states “Man’s chief ends is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. The Puritan pastor Thomas Watson said, “Eternity to the godly is a day that has no sunset; eternity to the wicked is a night that has no sunrise.” We shall see how this can be achieved only in “the fear of the Lord” (14)

We are not saying “Don’t worry, just be happy.”  A person who walks with God is blessed with real joy and satisfaction in life, in both the big and small things that God provides. There is real contentment in enjoying the things that God provides for us.

I find this quote from Warren Wiersbe’s commentary very helpful “When the well-known British Methodist preacher William Sangster learned that he had progressive muscular atrophy and could not get well, he made four resolutions and kept them to the end: (1) I will never complain; (2) I will keep the home bright; (3) I will count my blessings; (4) I will try to turn it to gain. This is the approach to life that Solomon wants us to take.  Amen.

(Next: In His time (4): A time for Justice)