Sermon preached at the Christian wake keep service in honor of Archbishop Humphrey Olumakaye at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Odode Idanre, Ondo State on Thursday 7th, December 2022.
TOPIC: TIME FOR EVERYTHING
TEXT: Eccl 3:1-2.
PREACHER: ++ Blessing Enyindah
PRAYER: May the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in thy sight O LORD our strength and our redeemer. Amen (Ps 19:14).
PREAMBLE: Special thanks to our father in God, the leader of our Church, the Most Rev. Dr. Henry Ndukuba, the Archbishop, Metropolitan, and Primate of All Nigeria, for according to me the privilege of preaching in this service. It is a privilege I am not taking for granted. I am grateful.
We also greet everybody here present, especially the Bishops and Archbishops of our Church.
We commiserate with the family of the man in whose honor we have here gathered the Olumakaye family (immediate and extended family).
When I was considering what we will share in this sermon, this popular and familiar passage came to my mind and it was the first Bible reading in this service. Eccl (Eccl 3:1-15). I will dwell on verses 1 and 2 which says “There is time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven, a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to harvest that which is planted.”
This passage brings to us the fact that everything works out as planned by God. He has a timetable wherein everything on this planet must happen. Everything must fall in line according to His’s plan. No jumping the guns. No matter how fast you can run, you cannot run faster than God’s timing in your life even if you are Ben Johnson or Usain Bolts.
No matter what science and technology do to control time, everything will eventually happen at its own time. In the creation story in Genesis 1 – 2:2, God could have allowed or commanded everything to come up at the same time. He has the power to do so. But we see Him creating them in their own time, one thing after the other for seven days and He had time to rest.
But what is time? Some scholars define time as a dot in eternity. According to them, eternity is like a circle without beginning and without end and time is like a dot in that circle. In other words, time is the duration God allocates an individual in eternity. To some others, time is an existential transitoriness. This definition conveys the idea of something that is fleeting or passing. It is not always there.
The writer of Ecclesiastics, they say, is a wise man. He makes us to understand the importance of time better by using some natural occurrences that are inevitable, namely; birth and death, planting and harvesting and so on (reading from Eccl. 3:1- 8).
Our interest here is on birth and death and planting and uprooting/harvesting (Eccl. 3:1, 2)
Time to be born: One day I was born, one day you were born. Before our birth, there was a time of conception. And after conception, we lived in our mother’s womb for sometime, and when it was time to vacate the womb apartment, we were born. This was according to God’s timing. You couldn’t have been born any other day or time if it was not the time for you to be born. A brother Bishop was making a joke of me when he got to know that I was born Pre-term or Pre-mature. He said no wonder you are always fast, because you came out of the womb in a hurry. You jumped out before time. I told him that is not right. The Bible says there is a time to be born. The time I was born was the time God planned for me to be born, else I would not have been born.
Time to die: Just as we were born one day so shall we die one day. Part of Eccl 7:2 says … and every living will consider he will end someday. People talk about untimely death, premature death, etc. The Bible says there is a time to die. For me any person who dies, died at the time he or she should die else the person would not have died. I know people who died after being on sick bed for 5 to 10 years and even wishing that they die but they lived on until it was the appointed time.
In this time of medical technological advancement, people travel to foreign countries, spend a lot of money in order to prolong their lives, but we all know that no matter the country, the amount of money and medical experts involved, when it is time to die there is nothing anyone can do about it.
So did our brother Humphrey die early? Humanly speaking yes! But divinely speaking, No! He has fulfilled the time appointed to him. Within the time he lived, he has left marks on the sands of time. The legacies are there for all to see. His biography says it all. Therefore, I say to the family, his widow, Professor Mrs Motunrayo, Richard, the clergy and laity of Diocese of Lagos and Province of Lagos, the brethren of St. Paul’s Odode, Idanre and all of us in the house of Bishops and every other person who are mourning, be strong in the Lord and be comforted by the Spirit of God. God has time for everything, we cannot question him that Humphrey has to go home at this time. It can be any body’s time tomorrow.
We will miss him. Our happiness is that he died as a committed child and servant of God.
Though we feel pained that it happened this time. We wish it were later. But “there is a time to be born and a time to die”. They must be when they will be.
The time now: But there is also a time that we don’t take cognizance of or value. This time is short. The Psalmist says “Remember how short my time is: wherefore has thou made all men in vain” (Psalm 89:47). This time is neither storable nor retrievable. It is a gift from God, that is why it is called, “the present.”
That time is this time. It is now. Now that we are alive and kicking, going out and coming in. Now that we are buying and selling, now that we are eating and drinking, now we are marrying and giving out for marriage.
The question is what about this time? Why God did allow me this time? What am I using this time for?
The truth is that we are alive because God chooses to let us live. After all some of our mates are not alive today. “He gives life to all, breath and all things” (Acts 17:25). But how you live the life is your choice “Choose for yourself this day who to serve” (Josh 24:15). He has given us the free will to choose how we live. We have the power to choose life or death (Deut. 30:19, 29, John 1:4). That is union and relationship with God or separation from Him, wickedness or righteousness.
Some people have chosen to be separated from God. They have chosen wickedness instead of righteousness. For them, this time is for enjoyment. They live frivolous and sinful lives, spend the time in evil and wicked deeds. Rev. 21:8 mentioned those evil acts. To them that is about the time.
The truth is that God allowed you to live in this time that you may keep his word. The Psalmist says in Psalm 119:17 “Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live and keep they word” (Psalm119:17). He prays God to do him good, show him favour and bless him that he may continue to live in order to obey his word, worship him and serve him. So God gave us the privilege of life that we may worship and serve Him. This is the only time to do that.
“This is the accepted time, the time of salvation” ((2Cor.6:2).
After this time death comes. Death comes at any age and at any time God allows it. It is an appointment (Heb. 9:27), and it is not negotiable. And after death comes judgment. Judgment time is the time we will appear before God to account for how we used the time he gave us to live. Did we use it for Him or against Him? By the way you are living your life, you are writing the statement with which you will be judged.
How are you using the time allotted to you to live? What you see in your life does it show you are a wicked or a righteous person. Remember, there is time for everything. Your time will end someday.
Planting and harvesting. The world is like a farm where God is the farmer, we are the seed/crops planted in this farm. God allows us to grow, bear fruits (the way, we live), mature and be ready for harvesting. One day He will come to harvest us either by death or by rapture. When we are harvested, there are two places we can be kept.
In my village when farmers harvest their yams, good ones meant for preservation are kept in the barn, a kind of store for yams and the bad ones are either roasted or boiled for eating.
When God comes to harvest us, we will either be preserved in the place prepared for those who lived on the earth according to His will or be put in Hell meant for those who lived in sin.
Daniel 12: 2 confirms this saying “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”
2 Tim. 4:8 tells us what will be the end of the righteous.
Let us hear the conclusion of the matter: your destination at the end of this life will be determined by what you did with Jesus and how you lived your life. The only way to escape going to hell is to repent of your sins and accept Jesus Christ into your life as your Lord and personal saviour and live a life walking in His ways.
Let us pray.