Monday, May 13, 2013

A Matter of Timing

“He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.” (Ecc. 11:4)

Our problem is not that we are not willing to do the work of sowing. Nor are we unwilling to put our hand to the harvest. What often keeps us from both is our desire for optimal conditions. It is, as we like to say, a matter of timing.

We wait for the right time to speak. We wait for the right time to apply and enroll. We wait for the right time to sell or buy. We wait for the right time to propose. We wait for the right time to start a family.

The writer of Ecclesiastes rightly observed that for everything there is a time and season. Timing cannot be ignored and we need to exercise discernment in the rhythms of life. But sometimes our concern with timing keeps us from doing anything at all.

We look at the wind and watch the clouds. You may be doing that today.

There are times when even our most confident actions are taken without the benefit of iron-clad certainty. If we’re waiting on perfect conditions, waiting until we have flawless knowledge of God’s will, we’ll never act. That’s what the writer of Ecclesiastes is telling us. If you watch the wind too closely you’ll never throw seed because you’re not sure where it might get blown. If you watch the clouds too closely you’ll never reap a harvest. Waiting on perfect conditions means you’ll be waiting . . . and waiting . . . and waiting.

When Jesus gave us words to pray he taught us to pray “thy will be done.” He did not teach us to pray “thy will be known.” Still, whenever we find ourselves seeking the will of God, we go about it as if the aim is knowledge. We focus more on our knowing than upon God’s doing.

We’re better off to simply pray as Jesus taught us to pray. Yes, we exercise careful discernment, we seek godly counsel, we patiently wrestle with the matter in prayer – but then we act; we take a step, choose a direction, all the while praying “thy will be done.”

If you’ve sensed a desire to do good in this world, perhaps it’s time to go ahead and do it. “In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not which will prosper, this or that or whether both alike will be good” (Ecc. 11:6).

Father, grant me wisdom of good discernment and the willingness to go ahead and act. Do in my life today what you will to do, and use my life as a means of blessing where you’ve placed me. I offer my plans and decisions to you, trusting you to accomplish your purposes in me and through me. Amen.

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