What’s it all for? The circle of time and making an impact in the world

When a fellow Christian is depressed, what do you say? Most of us don’t have the foggiest. This cluelessness reveals we only have a nodding acquaintance with the Word of God. Alarming. Here is an mp3 sermon from Joseph LoSardo.

Overview: It is clear that the theme of this passage is indeed “time” – the word is repeated 28 times over the 14 stanzas of the poem. But while man is the grammatical subject of the poem e the human subject plays no role in determining the time of his actions. As much as man would like to be involved in planning out his days, he finds himself a victim, in a sense, of time and the cycle of life. That which occurs in time is ultimately cancelled by what inevitably occurs at a later time. So, all who are born eventually die- all that is planted is eventually plucked up- silence is cancelled by speech, love by hatred, and war by peace- and in the end there is no net gain to anything under the sun. What is there to celebrate in this consequence—Qoheleth teaches that there is really not that much to celebrate in the circle of life. Instead, this popular poem is a lamentation over the fact humanity has no control over the outcome that time brings to pass. Qoheleth’s hope is not found in gaining anything under the sun, but rather in enjoying the beautiful moments that God makes in His time, and looking to that which God places in the hearts of men concerning eternity. God has set the times and seasons of the cycles of life ultimately for us to bow before Him as the Almighty Sovereign King who rules over time and the cycles of life.

http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=713141945251

Here is a transcript of a segment:

I want to make an impact, I want to make a difference in this world. Few people will say, I want to grow old, develop a series of ailments and eventually go into the grave. But that is what will happen to every single individual. That’s the reality. Really no one makes a significant impact on the world because everything is going to be reversed any way. That is what the Ecclesiastes teaches us. While everyone without exception gets older every year, typically gets some form of illness and eventually dies. We all live in the circle of life. It begins with birth and it ends with death, and in the middle a series of repetitive seasons that cancel each other out. This is reality, this is the reality our text brings out. I’m not saying that this should cause resignation. There are causes in this life we need to stand up for – the oppressed the unborn, the widow. But we should not get discouraged when we hit thirty or forty or fifty and you haven’t discovered the cure for cancer, the core issue is not whether you made it in life but whether God’s seasons in life have brought you to a place of helplessness and a recognition of your dependence on God. That is why God ordained the circle of life. So that we realise he is God.

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7 thoughts on “What’s it all for? The circle of time and making an impact in the world

  1. Reblogged this on shaynroby and commented:
    Shayn Roby’s Take: The last sentence of the conclusion of this article REALLY DOES sum it all up. The core issue is not whether you made it in life but whether God’s seasons in life have brought you to a place of helplessness and a recognition of your dependence on God. That is why God ordained the circle of life: So that we realize he is God.

  2. To quote LoSardo, “Really no-one makes a significant impact on the world” true if we’re talking about mere human thoughts, words, actions, but deeds done according to the will of God by a born again believer are eternally significant if inspired by the Holy Spirit. A consecrated life is allowing God’s Holy Spirit to work through us to accomplish His will which is of the utmost significance. ” “And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart” Galatians 6:9. Christians who’ve died for Christ, like Jim Elliot, were used mightily by God, and their deaths had a profound impact on others through God’s Holy spirit at work . “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10. The Lord in His graciousness chooses to work mightily through us, and with eternal consequences of extreme significance. “So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” 1 Corinthians 3:7. So, perhaps he meant human endeavour alone?

  3. JoLouw

    Thank you for these important caveats. As you say, it is “only God who gives the increase.” So, whether our endeavours are “secular” or “religious,” if they don’t succeed, that’s what God decreed. So then move on, get a life; not an eternal one, because, if we’re Christians, we’ve got that already. But, in all things we should be transforming our mind-hearts, becoming more and more heavenly mind-hearted.

    • Ja, as Christians transforming our minds, and hopefully spreading the gospel (good news) now and again too. “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” Phil 1:21 . Interesting reading, your writings, greetings from a cold and rainy Cape Town, Jo

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