Hello! Welcome to our blog! Today in our blog post we will be continuing our study of Ecclesiastes 3 with verse 5…
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
I will admit this verse puzzled me at first when I read it in my NLT Bible above. So I looked at what it says in The Message Bible by Eugene Peterson…
A right time to make love and another to abstain. A right time to embrace and another to part.
The Message Bible is not an exact translation, so I went into further study in my amplified Bible and it says…
A time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing.
In pondering different versions of this passage, I couldn’t help but to think of a garden. I love gardening! So much so that I am willing to put my body at risk due to the immense nature of my outdoor allergies. (The patch of eczema on my shin that I can’t get rid of proves it! LOL) This verse makes me think of all the times in the Bible where God’s Word talks about a vineyard. A garden, or a vineyard, are the same in terms of the work it takes to cultivate it. Time to clear away the “stones” in order for the ground to be just right and time to build those “stones” back up again around the perimeter to protect it from invading pests.
As I sit here meditating on these words of King Solomon, I think about the “stones” in my heart that since becoming a Christian I have had to “cast away”… anger, bitterness, jealousy, envy, impulsiveness, idolatry… just to name a few. I also reflect on the “stones” I have had to “gather”, to rebuild my heart…love, peace, joy, trust, faith, patience, gentleness, self-control. I thank God every day that He brought me to a place in my heart where I was open to receiving Him and willing to let Him be the captain of my faith journey. After all, He isn’t called the the Lord and Giver of Life for nothing!
So now I think about the second part of this verse… to embrace or not to embrace. It seems there is a time for both of these as well. I remember times in my life when I have had to embrace situations, both good and bad. Along with that, there have been times in my life when certain situations have arisen that I simply could not embrace.
Now I wonder… what do the two parts of this verse have to do with the other?
In any relationship, whether it be with a friend, someone you are dating, your spouse, a family member, a co-worker, or someone you just met… relationships take a lot of work to cultivate. In order to have healthy relationships your heart has to be in the right place, sowing those good seeds we talked about in a previous blog post. Why? Because you can’t grow and produce good fruit in your garden unless you “cast away stones”, just like you won’t have healthy relationships if you have stones in your heart that get in the way.
If you are in an unhealthy relationship, how do you cultivate it to make it healthy? By “gathering stones” of a different sort. Stones that build up, not tear down. Stones that protect your heart and protect the hearts of those who you are in relationships with.
Changing ground, or relationships, to be fertile and produce good fruit, takes time. Sometimes a lifetime. God will help you . His Word contains a wealth of ideas of how to do it. Ask yourself , and God, these questions…
Do I have “stones” in my heart that are affecting my relationships? If so, how can I tear them down and build them back up again in order to cultivate good fruit?
How can I replace those “stones” with ones of a different sort, ones that protect my heart and the hearts of those around me?
Are there certain relationships in my life I should embrace and are worth taking the time to fix? Are there ones I need to turn away?
God loves you and so do I,
photo courtesy of makeroomforgreatness.com