The Joy of Glory

Discovering endless joy in the boundless glory of God…

Tag: time

Lent Devotional: Ecclesiastes 3

Ecclesiastes 3 (click here)
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven… (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man. I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. (Ecclesiastes 3:9-14)

Time marches on…and we are caught on the treadmill of life. One season gives way to another. There is no slowing down, no going back, and no knowing what is coming in the future. Time makes us realize how much we are NOT in control.

Yet, we know there is one who is in control…for he has placed eternity in our hearts. Within us, there is a built-in sense that our lives must be part of a larger picture. We long to make sense of everything we experience precisely because our instincts tell us everything is supposed to make sense. Time is not so random as it seems when we experience it…no…there is a pattern, but it is too large for us to see the whole.

God alone sees time from beginning to end. We know something of eternity…something of his larger purposes, but we cannot see the whole as he can. So what are we to do? Trust. We trust the one who is over time and who sees the whole picture. As each seemingly random event comes our way, we find joy in the fact that God has given us each moment (even the difficult ones) as a gift. He has graciously included us as a part of his eternal purposes. His work will endure forever…and he has made us a part of that. So we live trusting him…we live by faith.

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.


Letter #11: Put Down the Books

Dear Jonathan,

I love hearing all your stories about the new friends you’ve made over the last year and a half. Some of them sound almost as crazy as the guys who became my brothers during seminary. I’m so thankful you have found our talks about friendship helpful.

However, I have found myself wondering about your other relationships as of late…specifically, your family. In your last letter, you described your study habits to me as if you were proud of how much time you have dedicated to school. Disciplined study is a great thing, but Jonathan…

book-pileThere comes a time when you need to put down the books.

You have two small children who desperately need their father right now (and always)! You have a wife who does not need to feel like a single parent or a widow! Don’t short-change them! If something has to be short-changed…make it seminary.

Taking a lower grade is worth taking time for your family.

During my seminary years, one of the most painful phrases I remember regularly coming off the lips of my daughter was, “Papa has to do school?” I have been so pleased to strike those words from her vocabulary!

Don’t get me wrong…I am not saying that school is not a priority. You could always spend more time with your family and that could lead to a total neglect of your studies. So what are you to do? I would advise you to sit down with your wife and have an honest conversation about priorities and time.

Talk through what each of you feel is an appropriate amount of time to devote to school and how much time must be set-aside for family. This could look different throughout a semester (especially during finals), but even having this conversation will show your bride how much you value her and your kiddos. Make sure your schedule leaves you both feeling like…

Seminary is a priority, but it is not THE priority.

I remember several times when I  put down my pen, shut the book, or closed my computer and went downstairs to wrestle with my kids on the living room floor or had one last conversation with my bride before she drifted off to sleep. If I could go back, I would not trade those moments for more studying…in fact…I’d probably study less in order to have more of those moments.

The health of my marriage and family has affected my pasturing more than seminary ever could. This is not just true for me, but for every pastor. Remember that Jonathan!

Give yourself to your studies. Work hard. Study to show yourself approved. Learn to rightly divide the Word of truth so that you have no reason to be ashamed. Yet…always, always, always remember…

There comes a time when you need to put down the books.

Grace and Peace,


*To know/understand the premise behind these letters please click here.

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