The book of Ecclesiastes speaks of their being a time for everything and every event under Heaven. In other words, both good and bad; large and small, major and mundane events have a place in our life and are ordained of God. In this list of events it says there is a time to “throw stones and to gather them.” (Ecclesiastes 3:5) This may mean many different things.
This phrase might be a metaphor for production in life. In an agricultural society, throwing stones was a common practice when you wanted to clear a field in order to plant crops. Stones were gathered to be used when building a house for shelter. In this sense, the text could be reminding us that hard work requires both toil and preparation and there is a time for both.
The phrase might also mean a time to investigate matters and a time to punish the guilty. Under the Old Covenant, stoning was one way in which executions were carried out. The Mosaic law carried stiff penalties, but the priests and judges of Israel were not to mete them out haphazardly. Careful investigations were to be done to try and determine if someone was guilty or innocent. And if they were innocent, then they had to investigate if the accuser was purposely trying to frame the person; and if so then the accuser received the penalty they were seeking for the one they wrongly accused. This investigation period might be called a time for “gathering stones.”
We live in a time and in a country, where accusations are often leveled and judgments are made without spending the time to “gather stones.” While our courts may function under the mantra “innocent until proven guilty” the court of public opinion usually does the opposite. But as Christians we should give pause to rushing to judgment and joining the mob. We should be sober minded and consider evidence. We should calmly and rationally seek to determine the truth, and make judgments in life based on that.
There is a time for every event under Heaven. What “time” are you facing right now? Are you in a season of preparation, or have the plans already been made? Are you in a season of toil, whereby it's time for you to finish the plans you made in the past? Are you trying to determine if someone is right or wrong in a matter? Seek the Lord and prayerfully ask Him to show you the way. There is a time for everything. What time is it for you?