Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, and 8 are some of the more famous verses in the Old Testament: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted. A time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.”
These verses provide wisdom for the way in which young professionals ought to structure their lives. Speaking personally, there are so many things I want to do in life – minister to my students, serve in my church, bless my wife, touch the lives of my family members, write books and articles that contribute to my profession. My busy ambitions are by no means unique. Many other young people are just as ambitious. A common mantra that is sometimes heard among Christian women these days is that they want to ‘have it all’ – a happy marriage, a successful career, a relationship with God, a loving family.
What the Scripture here seems to be saying is that it is indeed possible to do all these things. We can serve God, serve our family, serve others, and pursue our professional passions. But the key is that these things just might not occur all at once. The nugget of wisdom in these verses is that there are many things that are valuable in life, but that not all of these things can be done at the same time.
The busyness these days is paralyzing. There are some days when I have so many things to get done that I feel weighed down and am rendered inactive. But the wisdom of the writer of Ecclesiastes is that the many different tasks that I want to get done each day can be done sequentially. By focusing on just one task at a time, and by doing that task well, it is possible to ‘have it all’ in the way that we aspire to do. It is only when we try to do too much at once that we grow tired and lose our productivity.