My aim in this post is not to encourage you to settle for average. I believe we should all be a little curious and adventurous. We should have a very healthy dose of ambition, a competitive spirit and the desire to perfect the gifts and talents we’ve all been given.
However, we ought to “not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”
In other words
- Not many of us our going to run like Usain Bolt – the fastest person ever.
- Not many of us will agree to downsize our fighting men like Gideon did and still defeat mighty armies with a small military force.
- Not many of us will be the next King Solomon, the wisest man.
- Not many of us are going to become billionaires like the likes of Buffet, Gates and Zuckerberg.
- The fact is, not many of us will be as successful and discerning as others are.
So, if you fall short in your efforts to do better and pursue excellence in what we do – there is still hope, and that hope comes by the way you read Ecclesiastes 9:11.
“I observed this on the earth: the race is not always won by the swiftest, the battle is not always won by the strongest; prosperity does not always belong to those who are the wisest, wealth does not always belong to those who are the most discerning, nor does success always come to those with the most knowledge – for time and chance may overcome them all.” Ecclesiastes 9:11 NET
- The race is not ALWAYS
- The battle is not ALWAYS
- Prosperity is not ALWAYS
- Wealth does not ALWAYS
- Success is not ALWAYS
But to all those whom God has given “time and chance.”
That one word “always” opens up a whole new possibility for the averaged. What are these possibilities?
Let’s unpack these two.
“Opportunity of a lifetime must be ceased in the lifetime of the opportunity.” Leonard Ravenhill
In the bible, the word time “refers to an uncertain time or destined time. The word also refers to appointed time. Eccl 3:9-15 teaches God’s sovereignty over the appointed time-table of human events. This highlights the limitations of human wisdom and human ability, as 9:11 stresses.” (NET Notes)
Time allows us to take comfort in verses like Psalm 31:15 which says, My times are in the Lord’s hands and in Ecclesiastes 3:11, he makes all things beautiful in his own time. Some times it is going out sowing with tears until we come back with shouts of joy carrying the harvest (Psalm 126:5, 6). Other times it’s about not growing weary of doing good, for in due season (time) we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).
The race is not always to the swift, the smart, the gifted, the well-connected and well positioned. What that means is that they are not the only ones destined to win. In God’s appointed time, with patience and good timing, the God who has my times in his hands, not only can, but is going to lean in my direction with enough grace to take me across the finish line, knock out my Goliath, and help me succeed at what I do.
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” Napoleon Hill
The word chance is a little frown upon in many Christian circles and rightly so. With God there is nothing left to chance. Everything on purpose. God can even take the good, the bad and the ugly and used them for good.
This word could also be understood as innocence of action, occurrence, happening, at random. Look at 1 Kings 22:34:
“But a certain man drew his bow at random Hebrew in his innocence” and struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate…”
Some times it’s that song that barely made it on the album that goes to the top of the charts. It is that post you least expected to do well that gets the most liked, most shared, most commented on. It is that opportunity we accidentally walked into, that random decision we made that propels us to top.
2 Kings 13 tells the story of King Joash, king of Israel. He came to seek counsel and prayer from Elisha after the Syrian army declared war against Israel. Upon interceding for the king, the prophet instruct him to take arrows and shoot as many as he could. This would be sign showing to what extend he will destroy this army.
The king took three arrows and shot them into the ground and stopped. The prophet was furious with the king and proceeded to tell him that his victory over his enemy will be partial. If the king had shot 5 or more arrows it would secured a perfect and complete victory over his enemies.
The point here is this:
Don’t stop trying, shooting, or doing your best. Don’t stop at just three shots, keep at it, because you never know which one will take you to the top.