A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. - Ecclesiastes 3:5
Perhaps the meaning of these phrases about stones refers to the way an Eastern gardener prepares to till his vineyard. These vineyards are often hacked out of the steep sides of the vales. The ground in Israel seems to be made of stones of every shape and size. There is a season when the owner of the vineyard has to clear the ground of stones, and other times when he needs to gather, for some useful purpose, the very stones he has thrown away.
A young missionary would travel many months on end teaching and preaching, so his time at home, though very important, was fleeting. His wife would make all sorts of plans, only to find her life littered with the stones of disappointments. There would always be some responsibility her husband had to fulfill, and her plans would be spoiled. Picking up her disappointments and throwing them at her mate solved nothing! It was time to cast the stones of disappointment into the corner of her life.
As time went on and the fruit of Christian perseverance began to grow in the cultivated ground, the young wife tentatively began to build a watchtower in her mind with the disappointment stones. From that tower she could watch for her husband to come home and prepare a suitable celebration.
There is a time to scatter stones, and there is a time to gather stones together. I know—I was that young wife!
For Further Study: Ecclesiastes 3:1-5
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Women, Copyright ©2000 by Jill Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
For more from Jill Briscoe, please visit TellingtheTruth.org.