Ecclesiastes 3:1-14 challenges us to think differently about our time. According to the Teacher (Koheleth) there is "a time for every purpose under heaven and a season for every activity under the sun". There is real wisdom in those words, and I believe it is important for us to consider them further.
Think especially of some of the contrasts covered especially in verses 2-8:
"a time to be born, and a time to die,
a time to plant, and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal ..."
I have the unique privilege of serving in diverse sometimes even opposing fields.
I serve as a chaplain (a peacemaker and minister of reconciliation) in the US Air Force. Some have said the purpose of the US military is to kill people and to break things. Yet there is so much more.
The US military is also engaged in humanitarian relief following natural disasters and other tragic events. In the military there is a time to kill, but also a time to heal. It is important that we give emphasis to both.
I also serve as a pastor in the Christian Reformed Church in North America and a member of the board of Christian Reformed World Missions. CRWM partners through its Hope Equals initiative with Christian Peacemaker Teams; a pacifist organization calling Christians to serve as peacemakers through non-violence in some of the most war-torn areas in the world. ("A time to kill and a time to heal")
What I believe the Teacher wants us to realize is that no one occupation (killing or healing) needs to take up all of our time.
As controversial as it may seem, in a broken world there is a time to kill. Sometimes evil rears its head in awful ways through another human being, and the only way to stop the killing is to kill the perpetrator. Police officers especially live with that tension every day. Moreover, what seem equally controversial to some, there is also a time to put away our weapons, let down our guard, and seek healing. Knowing which time is which is the role of wisdom.
What do you think? Do you agree with Koheleth? Are there other perspectives or contrasts that speak to you? I invite you to share your thoughts as we journey together along the way ...