There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
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,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
~Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 (NIV)
We read that passage at my mother’s memorial service.
Now that I’m blanketed in winter, it seems like a perfect time to work my way through Stephanie Shott’s study of Ecclesiastes: Understanding What Matters Most, the latest offering in AMG Publishers‘ Following God through the Bible series.
Because if I’ve been set in this small place for this brief time, I want it to count for eternity.
I need to decide between a life of purpose or a life of pleasure.
In order to leave a legacy that lasts.
This is a six-week walk through a book of the Bible that we might not spend enough time in, except maybe for the seasons verses. Solomon was the wisest man ever. Yet he sought happiness in wrong places and made a bunch of wrong choices.
Stephanie writes, “Ecclesiastes was written by a man who had it all, took a disastrous detour, strayed from the Living God, and then penned his analysis (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) in order to prevent others from making the same mistakes he had. It’s kind of a “Been there, done that, seen that . . . you don’t want to go there” kind of story.
This is a verse-by-verse workbook with five lessons a week and a memory verse. Stephanie weaves in personal stories and insights, and there is plenty of time for reflection and application.
The side margins highlight important thoughts and scriptures. Like:
Life is too short to spend it looking at all the bad things that have happened to you.
A godly reputation built over a lifetime can be lost by one single act of foolishness.
Life is ever-changing, yet each new season we face comes with a purpose.
“Set your minds on things above, not on things of the earth.” ~Colossians 3:2
“. . . This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be . . .” ~Luke 12:20
“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, . . .” ~Romans 15:4
Week one lays out some history and presents some life lessons as Israel begs for a king (so they can be like everyone else) and goes on to explore briefly the lives of Saul, David, and Solomon.
The following weeks deal with life issues such as depression, seasons of life, finding balance, power and possessions, contentment, perspective, and more.
I’ve read through this workbook.
But I’m ready to start over and take my time.
Stephanie dives deep and sees well.
Getting to know Stephanie Shott: