A right time for everything
1 There is a right time for everything.
Everything that we do on the earth has a proper time.
2 There is a time to be born,
and there is a time to die.
There is a time to plant seeds.
There is a time to pull the plants out of the ground.
3 There is a time to kill people.
There is a time to make people well.
There is a time to destroy things.
There is a time to build things.
4 There is a time to weep.
There is a time to laugh.
There is a time to be sad.
There is a time to dance.
5 There is a time to throw stones away.
There is a time to pick them up and use them.
There is a time to hug people.
There is a time to turn away from people.
6 There is a time to look for things that you have lost.
There is a time to accept that you have lost them.
There is a time to keep things.
There is a time to throw things away.
7 There is a time to tear our clothes.
There is a time to mend them.
There is a time to say nothing.
There is a time to speak.
8 There is a time to love.
There is a time to hate.
There is a time for war.
There is a time for peace.
9 People work very hard, but what do they receive in return? 10 I have seen the difficult work that God has given people to do. He has caused them to be very busy. 11 God has chosen a good time for all things to happen. He has caused people to think about things that will continue for ever. But nobody can completely understand everything that God has done, from the beginning of their lives to the end.
12 So I realized that people should be happy. They should enjoy good things as long as they live. There is nothing better for people to do than that. 13 People should be happy to eat and to drink. They should enjoy the work that they do. All these things are gifts from God.
14 I know that everything that God does continues for ever. Nobody can add anything to it. Nobody can take anything away from it. God does these things so that people will respect his authority.
15 Whatever is happening now has happened before.
Everything that will happen in the future has already happened.
God causes the same things to happen again and again.
3:15God is the one who decides the right time for things to happen on the earth. We need to understand that he rules over all things. It is important to understand that God has a reason for all the things that he does. We will never understand everything that God does but we can enjoy our lives if we respect his authority.
Are people like animals?
16 I saw something else that happens on the earth.
Judges should choose what is right,
but instead they choose what is wicked.
They should decide what is fair,
but they do evil things.
17 I said to myself,
‘One day, God will judge everyone,
righteous people and wicked people.
He has chosen a time for everything.
So there is a right time when he will judge people.’
18 I also thought, ‘God wants people to know that they are like animals. That is why he tests us. 19 The same thing happens to humans as happens to animals. We all breathe for a time and then we die. Humans are no different to animals. Life has no purpose. 20 All living things finally go to the same place. We all come from the dust of the ground. And we all go back to the dust when we die. 21 Do the spirits of humans go up into the sky when we die? Do the spirits of animals go down into the ground? Nobody really knows.’
3:21The Hebrew word for ‘spirit’ can also mean ‘breath’. The Teacher says more about this in Ecclesiastes 12:7.
22 So I realized that people should enjoy the work that they do. That is the best thing for us to do. It is what God has provided for us. I think that is best, because nobody can show us what will finally happen to us.