I returned and saw under the sun that —


The race is not to the swift,

Nor the battle to the strong,

Nor bread to the wise,

Nor riches to men of understanding,

Nor favor to men of skill;

But time and chance happen to them all.

For man also does not know his time:

Like fish taken in a cruel net,

Like birds caught in a snare,

So the sons of men are snared in an evil time,

When it fails suddenly upon them.


We often look at people with great abilities and talents and wish we could do what they do. If only we had more education or we were stronger, more skilled, more understanding…

The writer of Ecclesiastes tells us that success does not always come to those who are the best. Chance and time can affect all people regardless of their level of talent, wisdom, or understanding.

Furthermore, time can be up before we know it. Our strength could fail, our prospect for success falter. In all things what we are trying to accomplish in life can easily be derailed. If that’s the case one might wonder why a person would ever try.

The secret is that if we have limited time and if skill or knowledge cannot prove successful, we ought to base success not on our own strength, but upon the promises of God.  We may not be the most skillful or wisest person, yet those who trust in the Lord will not falter. We might not get everything we think we want, but we will, regardless of time or chance, find God’s promises and God’s will in our lives far better than even realizing our greatest dreams in life.

If you’re one of those looking at others and wishing you could do or be more, do everything you can to fulfill what God made you to be. Yet never forget that ultimately our ability and strength and our meager lives are not enough to bring success and fulfillment to life. If we are patient God will give us all the things we need, in His own time.

Michael Orr