There is an appropriate time to do everything. The big problem is recognizing when that time has arrived. The things that Solomon has talked about so far were in terms of all or nothing. For example, there is nothing wrong with mirth per se, but there is something wrong with it when it is your goal in life. Basically, nothing should be done in excess. We need to keep things in perspective.
What can we learn from Solomon's poem? When done at the appropriate time, everything is beautiful. However, we don't have the proper viewpoint to fully grasp everything around us. God lives in eternity. We can grasp the concept of eternity, but we live in a finite amount of time (James 4:13-17). We don't know everything that happened before we were born and we can only guess what will happen after we die.
The best that we can do is to rejoice, do good, eat, drink, and enjoy the fruits of our labor. All of this comes from God. It may seem like a contradiction, but Solomon is saying that we should enjoy life, though life is not an end unto itself.
We cannot change what God has planned to do, so we shouldn't waste time trying to change the unchangeable (Mt. 6:27). We need to learn to respect what God has decided (Phil. 4:11). We may not be able to alter our environment, but we can control who we are. God will expect us to give an account to him of what we have done with our lives.
1) Are you remembering to mark the good things to do with our lives in your Bible?
2) For each of the times listed by Solomon, describe how to tell when the appropriate time has arrived.