Making Our Time Count
August 21, 2020
Ecclesiastes 2:11, KJV
“Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit and there was no profit under the sun.”
I enjoy just sitting back in a chair and watching my children romp around. And I can only ever truly enjoy them when I don’t have a cell phone in my hand or paper work on my lap. I normally saunter over to this ridiculously large bean bag chair we have, fluff it up a bit and then fall backward into it. About two minutes into my rest my wife will ask sincerely if I hadn’t had work that I need to do this day. To which I reply, “Yeah”. I say it in such a tone as to imply that I know the task is there waiting for me and there it can wait. I would rather watch my children grow than fix that silly scraping door in the basement.
All this brings to mind the verse in Ecclesiastes that says, “Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit and there was no profit under the sun. (2:11, KJV)” Though I had struggled to install new siding on my home to make it as nice as I could. I look back now and see where the mold is growing and where the mower has punched holes in it. Though I scraped and sweetly resurfaced the porch, the paint is now peeling and begging to be redone. I have learned that as soon as I am done remodeling my home it will be time to go back and start an update remodel.
I am slowly coming to realize that the teacher of Ecclesiastes knew what he was talking about. So now I am trying to take this into my relationships with my children. Will either I or my children look back in fondness at all the grass mowing or basement framing or car cleaning that I did, that replaced my time with them. Every time they want to wrestle I tell them I can’t because I have paperwork. I crawl into bed with a child to read and some menial task pops up that takes my attention away from them.
Please don’t get me wrong. I am not implying that I, or you, should be a sloth in our labors. I am just saying that as I watch my children grow, I am realizing that they will not be in my care forever. That I should be weeding out the truly vane things in life and give that time to my kids. What’s your vanity? Facebook, video games, sports, helping out at the church maybe? Busy saving the whole world while your family falls apart?
A little further on in the book of Ecclesiastes the teacher starts pointing out a different way of living. He says, “There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labor. This also I saw that it was from the hand of God.” (Ecclesiastes 2:24, KJV)
We can toil away our precious opportunities we have with our children. Or we can take them on a dirt bike adventure on abandoned roads and grab ice cream on the way back. The deck will still need painted tomorrow.