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Everything Has Its Time

1For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

2a time to be born, and a time to die;

a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

3a time to kill, and a time to heal;

a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4a time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6a time to seek, and a time to lose;

a time to keep, and a time to throw away;

7a time to tear, and a time to sew;

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8a time to love, and a time to hate;

a time for war, and a time for peace.

The God-Given Task

9What gain have the workers from their toil? 10I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. 11He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; 13moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil. 14I know that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him. 15That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already is; and God seeks out what has gone by.

Judgment and the Future Belong to God

16Moreover I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, wickedness was there, and in the place of righteousness, wickedness was there as well. 17I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for he has appointed a time for every matter, and for every work. 18I said in my heart with regard to human beings that God is testing them to show that they are but animals. 19For the fate of humans and the fate of animals is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and humans have no advantage over the animals; for all is vanity. 20All go to one place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again. 21Who knows whether the human spirit goes upward and the spirit of animals goes downward to the earth? 22So I saw that there is nothing better than that all should enjoy their work, for that is their lot; who can bring them to see what will be after them?

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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