Do You Know What Time It Is?
Mark Cowart is the Senior Pastor of Church For All Nations, a multi-site church. With the mission of empowering locally, sending globally, and reaping eternally, Pastor Mark seeks to fulfill Matthew 28:18-20, “…Go then and make disciples of all nations.”
While reaching the nations with the Gospel is his passion, Pastor Mark also has a deep and fervent love for America. He recognizes the urgent need and responsibility of pastors to lead, preserve, and protect the moral fiber of our country. He also understands the need for the body of Christ to work together to restore America’s Christian foundations.
Pastor Mark entered full-time ministry in 1983, and became the Senior Pastor of Church For All Nations in 1987. He also serves at Charis Bible College as the Director of the Practical Government School under the leadership of Andrew Wommack and David Barton. The article below is an excerpt from Mark Cowart’s book, Army of God Rising. You can get more information about this book or order a copy by visiting https://squareup.com/store/church-for-all-nations-online-store/item/army-of-god-rising-pastor-mark-cowart. It is also available as an e-book through iBooks or Amazon.
“One day the Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus, demanding that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority. He replied, ‘You know the saying, Red sky at night means fair weather tomorrow; red sky in the morning means foul weather all day.’ You know how to interpret the weather signs in the sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the signs of the times! Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign, but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah.’ Then Jesus left them and went away.” 
It is absolutely amazing how the forecasters of today can predict the weather with such accuracy—well, most of the time. Our culture is addicted to the weather channels. Will we need an umbrella tomorrow or how about those snow boots? Today’s forecasters have many tools that assist them in predicting the weather patterns, especially super computers and satellites.
In Jesus’ times they did it the old fashioned way. Though they did not have the sophisticated equipment that we have today, they were able to tell if it was going to be good weather or if a storm was coming, by simply using the power of observation and following the trends that they were familiar with in their areas.
I love my weather app on my iPhone! I can pull up weather forecasts for almost any place in the world. This is really important for people who do a lot of traveling. I am privileged to travel around the country and internationally, and I have friends who live all over the world. When I am planning a visit with them, part of my travel tradition is to open up my favorite weather app and look at the current forecast. This information is a huge help in preparing what clothes and accessories I will need to take.
In this verse in Matthew, Jesus makes a noteworthy observation, one that we could easily apply to our times. What Jesus is explaining, in our present day terminology, is that modern man can predict the weather and forecast financial trends, but he cannot even discern the times in which he lives. Isn’t it amazing how we can predict so many things and yet miss the obvious?
I recall a number of times here in Colorado when I was enjoying a beautiful, sunny day with mild temperatures, and all of a sudden a weather alert would pop up on my phone showing a winter storm warning. One particular day, I remember glancing out the window. I did not see any indication at all that a storm was coming. What did I do? I ignored the warning, but I did pay a price. I missed my time to prepare for the coming storm.
Over time, however, I learned to not ignore those warnings and to start making the necessary preparations, regardless of the weather outside at that moment in time. I think we all know what those preparations entail. It demands things like filling up your vehicle’s gas tank, stopping by the grocery store, getting food necessities, etc. For people who require medicines or special medical equipment, it is especially important that they plan ahead.
I remember one particular winter storm warning that I didn’t take very seriously. Because of that mistake we ended up being stuck in the house for 3 days. The entire city was shut down! I can remember times during these massive snow storms when Fort Carson Army base, here in Colorado Springs, and other law enforcement agencies had to use their emergency vehicles to go and rescue people who were stranded due to the amount of snow that had piled up. It is amazing how much we take for granted; many simple things like being able to run to the store at any time and grab whatever it is that we need at that moment. It is only when critical services and supplies are interrupted that we truly understand how important it is to heed the warnings and plan properly.
Apparently, I was not the only one that week who ignored the warning. We had another winter storm warning shortly after, and I thought, “I’m not going to be caught off guard on this one.” So I went to the store to load up on groceries, gassed up my vehicle, and did all the other necessary preparations. I was even texting my wife asking if she could think of what we may need at the house. I did not want to get caught off guard and forget some necessary item when that storm hit. To my surprise, there were people everywhere doing the same thing.
When I got into the store and started walking down the aisles, it was a bit of a shock. The shelves were almost completely empty, and not one flake of snow had fallen yet. Apparently, I was not the only person that week who was caught off guard from the previous storm. It was obvious that a whole lot of us had learned the lesson. Even the evening news covered the run on the grocery stores showing all the empty shelves.
I have noticed that most of us have short memories, especially when we find ourselves in times of suffering, loss, or tragedy. I realize that missing a few groceries is not a serious issue at all compared to other kinds of life tragedies. But there is a lesson to be learned from this. Most of us have enough food in our houses to last a short amount of time. What we fail to factor in is one very vital bit of information. We assume that our country will run smoothly most of the time. We have electricity for our homes, Internet, cell phone signals, gasoline and diesel for our vehicles, stocked grocery stores, civil peace, etc. But have we ever stopped to think seriously about what would happen if our normal everyday lives were seriously interrupted? Would we know the signs, and would we be prepared? Can we see them right now?
Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Ecclesiastes is an incredibly powerful book and one that every human being could learn a great deal from. Solomon, the richest and wisest man who ever lived, was the author of this book that is so full of wisdom. He led Israel during what is called the golden age. It was a 40-year period of unprecedented peace and prosperity.
In 2015, Forbes reported that the 500 richest people in the world were collectively worth 4.7 trillion dollars. Solomon’s gold reserves alone were worth right at one trillion dollars. I read once that the temple Solomon built would cost one-half trillion dollars to reconstruct in our day. He had wisdom that would take your breath away, and the Biblical principles that he wrote are more quoted than any other source in history. Solomon had more wealth, blessing, and advantage than any human being prior to him or after, but he had a bad ending in his life. He did not follow his own advice and wisdom. In Ecclesiastes you can sense the weariness his own folly produced and the toll it took on him. There has never been a nation as blessed as America. No one has ever had more wealth, liberty, blessing, and advantage than America.
Alexis de Tocqueville was a French political thinker and historian, best known for his work Democracy in America. He came to America in 1831, to study our penal system, but his real interest was discovering what made this young country so great. He said, “The position of the Americans is therefore quite exceptional, and it may be believed that no democratic people will ever be placed in a similar one.”
It has been said that Democracy in America is, arguably, one of the two most important books on American political life, with the Federalist Papers being the other.
My point in bringing all of this up is that there never has been a nation like America, with the exception of Israel. There also was never anyone as wise and great as Solomon. We could potentially learn great lessons from his life and writings that would not only enhance our existence but also possibly save it. In reading Ecclesiastes 3:1, three critical words stand out and require not only attention but also understanding.
1) Seasons – There are seasons to everything in life. When we fail to discern what season we are in, the result can be disastrous.
2) Times – Timing is everything. The phrase “Time is of the essence” is sometimes used in contracts and in a legal context. It means that there is not a limitless amount of time to fulfill one’s obligations.
3) Purpose – Myles Munroe said, “When purpose is not understood, abuse is inevitable.” Understanding purpose is a prerequisite to planning. Isaiah 46:10 says that only God knows the end from before the beginning. His purpose and His counsel is the only thing that will stand throughout eternity; everything else will perish.
All three of these themes are critical to our basic understanding of the ebb and flow of life and will determine how successful we will be. If you are to be victorious and succeed in life, you need to know what season of your life you are in. If you fail to discern your season or the season of life our society is in, you run the risk of making huge mistakes. Prayer is most effective when it is in proper synchronization with the season in which you find yourself. Otherwise, your prayers will not be as effectual. Timing is also very critical; and, in some situations, timing is everything. If you attempt to accomplish a certain task when the timing is not right, you can be in real trouble.
Finally, discerning God’s purpose in your life is key to determining whether there will be a future reward or personal failure.
In the parable of the talents (in ancient times a talent was a unit of value, as in money) we are introduced to the principle of stewardship of our lives. The first two servants in the story understood the importance of the season they were in; they were aware of the critical timing of their assignment and committed themselves to fulfilling their purpose. Businessmen can easily grasp the importance of these three things as revealed in this parable. Two of these individuals were great businessmen. They invested wisely and got a great return on their investment. They could only accomplish this because they understood seasons, timing, and purpose.
However, the last servant, with only one talent, was a lousy businessman. Because of fear, he buried the money so that there would be no return on the money allotted to him. Because he did not invest wisely, he was labeled as “wicked and lazy” and then cast into outer darkness where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Money is represented here in this parable as the Lord’s investment in us. We need to realize that the Lord is expecting a return on His investment in our lives.
A wise person will discern the value of seasons, timing, and purpose. These three issues of life—seasons, times, and purpose—are interdependent upon each other. They work together, somewhat like a threefold cord that is not easily broken. However, if you leave one of them out, strength is diminished.
 Matthew 16:1-4 NLT,  Matthew 25:14-30 KJV