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Time and Chance Happen to Them All

          I returned and saw under the sun that—
The race is not to the swift,
Nor the battle to the strong,
Nor bread to the wise,
Nor riches to men of understanding,
Nor favour to men of skill;
But time and chance happen to them all.  –Eccl 9:11

Have you ever wondered why it is that even though you have an impeccable work record, your lesser-qualified colleague gets promoted over you? What if you encountered a situation where the newly appointed executives at your company abscond with millions of dollars, bankrupt the organization where you have devoted years of service, and leave you without a job?

These scenarios are common enough in the workplace these days. It is said that if Wall Street were to sneeze, the world economy would catch a cold. Companies these days rise and fall in a matter of months. Dedicated service and hard work now seem irrelevant and unappreciated. It’s tempting just to sit back and slack off. After all, what use is it?

But King Solomon said, “Time and chance happen to them all.” In other words, overtime and increased workplace productivity may get you nowhere, but time and chance—the opportunity as governed by God—will happen to all.

Solomon opens his wise book with the words: “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” All our earthly labors are futile and we’re just “grasping for the wind,” he mentions later. Without God’s providence and without His blessings, if we place no faith, no trust, and no thanks in His plans for us, then all things amount to vanity.

But if we put our hope in God and continue to strive in our labor, we will see that everything is beautiful in God’s time. That is why Solomon tells us again and again: to labor is our portion in life and our heritage from God. We are to do it with our might and with gladness: there is nothing better than to rejoice and to do good in our lives, and to enjoy the harvest of our hard work. This is a gift of God.

So the next time you’re faced with the Monday morning blues or company morale has hit rock bottom, just remember: there is a time and a season for everything.           

Questions for Reflection:

            1. Its time to do your taxes. Do you sigh in resignation, thinking about how death and taxes are inevitable, or do you thank God you have a job in which you can pay your bills?

            2. Your talents may be under-utilised at work right now. Have you thought using the extra time to serve the Lord? Is now the time and chance for you?


Publisher: True Jesus Church