1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
So, I have heard this scripture preached a million and a half times, most of the time it is is preached in regards to mourning or death, usually focusing on verse 4. But tonight, I feel God has something different for us as we read this passage.
In high school, I was always a bit of a bookworm. I was admittedly quite an underachiever, but I’ve always had a passion for books, which fueled a desire to become a literature teacher. I will go ahead and spoil the ending for you here and say that I have not pursued that passion as of yet. Now, I promise there is a reason for that digression, so please bear with me.
I’d like to bring your attention to verse 6, in which King Solomon makes a statement that makes me just a bit uncomfortable to be honest: “a time to search, and a time to give up”. In America, we are taught that only quitters give up. We are taught that giving up is the pinnacle of shame. But here in the scripture, we see God giving us the okay to give up. . . now everyone go ahead and say this aloud with me: “WHAT’S UP WITH THAT?!”
Well, I think that here is a huge Biblical principle here that we need to apply to our own lives. The name of the law is the Law of Reciprocity, but we’ll just call it the law of give and take. Simply put, it means that if you give something will be given back to you. We see this repeated in scripture over and over again. As in Malachi 3, the famous tithing chapter, where God says that we should give our tithe, and then he will bless us abundantly.
So, you may ask yourself how this all relates. The answer is quite simple. We have to give up sometimes to find what we weren’t looking for, which is God’s best for us. I know that beyond the shadow of a doubt that if i had pursued a career in teaching Literature I would have been happy for a time, but only just a short time. I was called to be in ministry, which is what God had for me, it was what I wasn’t looking for. When we can find it within ourselves to give up what we want, we can find what we didn’t know we needed. The best part is that God does know what we need.
The best example I could ever give of someone giving up something dear is that of Jesus Christ. In John 19, we see a beautiful example of the worst deal ever made. At verse 30, most translations read something like this: “He gave up His spirit”. Yes, Jesus gave up something. He gave up His own desire to live. A perfect man gave up his life for a world full of imperfect people. The only one who deserved to live, gave up himself so that we could live with him, in him, and through him.
It is a part of the impeccable character of God to be generous. He doesn’t have to give anything to us in exchange for our obedience, but he does anyway. Jesus received eternal glory, having the “Name above every other name” for giving up his will. We can find ourselves when we give up our ours.
What are you holding on to that is holding you back from receiving God’s best for your life?