Kairos (καιρός) is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment (the supreme moment). The ancient Greeks had two words for time, chronos and kairos. Chronos refered to chronological or sequential time; kairos signified a time in between, a moment of undetermined period of time in which something special happens.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 provide perhaps the most famous and best teachings on kairos time which we have :
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”
All the above can be seen as kairos moments, kairos time, when, if appropriate action is properly applied to the relevant task to hand, it will produce positive results. A little earlier, or a little late, and the results may be disappointing, frustrating, even catastrophic; certainly not guaranteed. There is no point in planting at harvest time, or harvesting, in the growing season.
Of the numerous Bible passages relating to the practical side of the Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 teachings, let us look to the Book of Ruth. This story takes place during the dark days of the judges, possibly in the days of Samson and records the life of a Moabite woman named Ruth and her faithfulness to Naomi, her mother-in-law. Hardship had befallen the women and their options were dwindling fast. Chapter 3 is the turning point in the Book of Ruth, when a kairos moment arrives and is taken to full advantage. v1-4 tells us:
“And her mother-in-law Naomi said to her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for you so that it may be well with you? And now, is not Boaz of our kindred, he with whose maidens you were? Behold, he winnows barley tonight in the threshing-floor. Therefore wash yourself, and anoint yourself, and put your clothing upon you, and go down to the floor. Do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. And when he lies down, you mark the place where he lies, and you shall go in and uncover his feet and lie down. And he will tell you what you shall do.”
Naomi had seen, that with the end of the gleaning of that year’s harvest, their life style was no longer sustainable. They needed a new chapter in their lives, a new door to be opened for them, new opportunities. Naomi needed to secure a future for herself and her daughter-in-law, Ruth. You can see in the mother’s words to her daughter “shall I not seek rest for you so that it may be well with you?” that the love, faithfulness and generosity which Ruth characterised, was fully recognised and acknowledged by her mother.
Naomi’s thoughts went back to the teachings of her childhood and to the laws of Moses and with that legal background, she worked out a plan to redeem their past and present and lay down a solid foundation for the future. Naomi wanted to provide security for her daughter and in the law which God provided to Moses, she saw an opening.
In this case, God provided her the opportunity; first in the law; second the recognition that the means were now at her disposal; and third, a kairos moment when she could act. Ruth’s reply to her mother’s plan was quick and certain (v5) “she said to her, All that you say, I will do.” And with those words the plan became an action and the action provided the security for both Ruth and Naomi.
Ruth did not fear what lay ahead. She trusted Naomi and Naomi trusted in the law which God gave Moses.
To get a clearer understanding of just what Naomi said to Ruth, let us read Eugene Peterson’s The Message version of the Bible :
One day her mother-in-law Naomi said to Ruth, “My dear daughter, isn’t it about time I arranged a good home for you so you can have a happy life? And isn’t Boaz our close relative, the one with whose young women you’ve been working? Maybe it’s time to make our move. Tonight is the night of Boaz’s barley harvest at the threshing floor.”
“Take a bath. Put on some perfume. Get all dressed up and go to the threshing floor. But don’t let him know you’re there until the party is well under way and he’s had plenty of food and drink. When you see him slipping off to sleep, watch where he lies down and then go there. Lie at his feet to let him know that you are available to him for marriage. Then wait and see what he says. He’ll tell you what to do.”
Here you can see the urgency in Naomi’s words and the authority which she took over this kairos moment of opportunity for them.
Well the rest is history. Ruth and Naomi obtained security. We also benefitted too. Ruth married Boaz and their son Obed was Jesse’s father, who was King David’s father. All are included in the genealogy of Joseph, the husband of Jesus’ mother. (Matthew 1:1-16)
As Ruth trusted and did not fear, likewise, we do not need to fear that which is ahead for us. The Lord assures us in His own written word:
Isaiah 26:3-4“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You; because he trusts in You. Trust in Jehovah forever; for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.”
Jeremiah 17:7“Blessed is the man who trusts in Jehovah, and Jehovah is his trust.”
Jeremiah 29:11“For I know the purposes which I am purposing for you, says Jehovah; purposes of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Jeremiah 31:17“And there is hope for your future, says Jehovah, that your sons shall come again to their own border.”
Psalm 32:10“The wicked has many sorrows, but mercy embraces him who trusts in Jehovah.”
Psalm 37:37-38“Watch the perfect and behold the upright one; for the end of that man is peace. But the sinners are destroyed together; the end of the wicked is cut off.”
Psalm 40:4“Blessed is the man who makes Jehovah his trust and does not turn to the proud, nor to those who turn aside to a lie.”
Nahum 1:7“Jehovah is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him.”
The test of faith is action. All we need is to remember the words from Ruth in Ruth 3:5 as she affirmed her agreement to Naomi’s proposal: “Ruth said, “If you say so, I’ll do it, just as you’ve told me.”
We can change the worlds with these words “I’ll do it, just as you’ve told me”!!!! For in these words there is no fear, only trust in the Lord God Almighty!
Amen and Amen.