Tim’s Daily Bread Devotional 1.22.22

By January 22, 2022Daily Bread

Good morning!

I hope this day finds you and your family well. I invite you to take a few moments with me to read and reflect upon today’s scripture selection — and to carry these thoughts with you into your day.

Today’s Scripture: Ecclesiastes 3:1-12

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

What gain have the workers from their toil? 10 I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. 11 He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live;

Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today

Ecclesiastes’ philosophy has resonated with many people down through the ages and continues to do so today. Today’s reading catalogs various seasons of life, 28 of them, arranged in sharp contrast to one another and yet each an undeniable part of human existence.

In the 60’s The Byrds recorded a pop chart single entitled “Turn, Turn, Turn” that was mostly the words of the first eight verses of our scripture reading for today. Those verses in Ecclesiastes talk about everything having an appropriate time and give a lot of examples: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; etc.

The writer then goes on to say, “I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”

Let’s consider this for a moment. God has given us a sense of past and future, and we live between the two. We alone, of all God’s creatures, have this sense of past and future, even though we are unable completely to plumb the depths of the mysteries of creation at the beginning and the mystery of how it may all end.

We live in the between time; this is where life happens.

The writer speaks of the gift of enjoying life. (Someone once said that today is a gift and that is why we call it “THE PRESENT.”)

This moment, then, is a present given to us by God.

It’s no wonder that the first month of the year is named after Janus, the ancient god of Roman mythology with two faces looking in opposite directions. According to Roman mythology, Janus could simultaneously look ahead and look back.

Ecclesiastes says that we have that same ability.

In this first month of the new year, we are most aware of this sense of living in the between time, this sense of past and future.  Understanding that God has put a sense of past and future in our minds, with the ability to look in these opposite directions simultaneously, we find ourselves now looking back at the past and forward to the future.

This is such a valuable moment in our lives because we always have some spiritual work to do between past and future. What is the nature of that work?

Our work on the past has two aspects. You could call these Keeping and Throwing Away, or Taking and Leaving, or Remembering and Forgetting.

Our work on the future also has two aspects. You could call these Hope and Commitment.

I invite you today to think about what you need to let go of and leave in the past — and what you need to learn from and carry into the future. I also invite you to look forward with hope and with commitment to more closely follow Jesus as you make plans for the future.

Hymn Suggestion

“O God, Our Help in Ages Past”

O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
our shelter from the stormy blast,
and our eternal home:

Under the shadow of your throne
your saints have dwelt secure;
sufficient is your arm alone,
and our defense is sure.

Before the hills in order stood,
or earth received its frame,
from everlasting you are God,
to endless years the same.

A thousand ages in your sight
are like an evening gone,
short as the watch that ends the night
before the rising sun.

Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
soon bears us all away;
we fly forgotten, as a dream
dies at the op’ning day.

O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
still be our guard while troubles last,
and our eternal home!

Thank you for sharing this moment of your day with me, with God, and with these reflections on a portion of scripture.  I hope you will carry these with you throughout your day and night.

Grace and Peace,


Dr. Tim Bruster
Senior Pastor

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