He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11
When I saw the massive volume of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace on my friend’s bookshelf, I confessed, “I’ve never actually made it all the way through that.” “Well,” Marty chuckled, “When I retired from teaching, I got it as a gift from a friend who told me, ‘Now you’ll finally have time to read it.’ ”
The first eight verses of Ecclesiastes 3 state a familiar, natural rhythm of the activities of life with some arbitrary choices. No matter what stage of life we find ourselves in, it’s often difficult to find time to do everything we want to do. And to make wise decisions about managing our time, it’s helpful to have a plan (Psalm 90:12).
Time spent with God each day is a priority for our spiritual health. Doing productive work is satisfying to our spirit (Ecclesiastes 3:13). Serving God and helping other people is essential to fulfilling God’s purpose for us (Ephesians 2:10). And times of rest or leisure aren’t wasted but refreshing for body and spirit.
Of course, it’s easy to become too focused on the here and now—finding time for the things that matter most to us. But Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God has “set eternity” in our hearts—reminding us to make a priority of things that are eternal. That can bring us face to face with something of the greatest importance—God’s eternal perspective “from beginning to end.”
What different choices might you make about the way you’re spending your time? What did the author of Ecclesiastes mean about God setting eternity in the human heart?
Jesus, give me a glimpse of Your eternal perspective and help me to search for the right balance of time that better fulfills Your purpose.
Ecclesiastes tells the story of a gifted mortal who loses his way “under the sun” (1:9). Fitting the description of King Solomon, the writer (who calls himself “the Teacher” v. 1) begins well, using his God-given wisdom to seek justice for even the most troubled members of his kingdom (see 1 Kings 3:16–28). But he loses his way when he forgets that his wisdom and wealth weren’t given primarily for his own satisfaction. Only as an apparent afterthought does he remember that lasting significance is found by living in the light and goodness of God (Ecclesiastes 12:13–14).