We have a responsibility to use time in a balanced way that enables us to enjoy life as God intended it to be. We know that we are creatures of time by the way we set our clocks and watches so that we will know what hour it is.
We have schedules and appointments set by dates on a calendar. We know larger amounts of time by measuring the months and years. We also know the seasons of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. We see it in creation as we serve a God of season. God doesn’t measure seasons with clocks and calendars, but through truth and revelation.
Our lives will change, and we will enter and exit many seasons, but there is one who remains constant yesterday, today and forever. There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens
Reading: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
The name Ecclesiastes comes from the Greek word Ekklesia which simply means assembly. From this we can understand the book may be read as a leader or teacher speaking before some form of assembly or gathering.
The opening verse leads scholars to conclude the author is King Solomon, ‘The words of the teacher, son of David, king of Jerusalem.’ The second verse reads, ‘Meaningless! Meaningless! Says the teacher. Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless!’ It could be argued that what we have before us is a sermon that sets about exploring the big question that we all ask at some point on the journey. What is the meaning of life? I wonder if it is mostly when we experience that meaningless feeling we ask the big question. Our Scripture says to everything there is a season
and there is a purpose and a reason for those seasons. In travelling through them we learn things about ourselves and about God. Things we may not have learned had we not travelled through. Change is inevitable. It is going to happen. We look at the world around us and notice things are different today than they were 10 years ago, last year or even yesterday. I want to read this morning a comment one of our members made when responding to the favourite Psalm choice that we held a couple of weeks ago. ‘We have much to do and it is pleasing to note that during these difficult restrictive times our own St Michael’s family have adapted and coped exceptionally well. Now that we have been taken out of our comfort zone and shown that we can adapt and accept change we should be showing further initiative and continue to seek pastures new and take up other challenges.’
Cast your minds back to last summer when most of our services were very different and some were the same as in years gone by. We had the annual kirkin of the honest lad and honest lass. We had a joint worship service and lunch in the hall. The other services included a guest speaker from Crossreach as well as different groups from within the Church family; Bible Study group and the choir leading our worship services. All very different from our services of worship this year. Either way they are all services of worship offered to the living God and in my opinion to deny this is to deny that we serve a God of seasons it is to deny that his hand is leading us through this season. He created the seasons. He created time. And each season is different than the others. Some are meant for things to grow, and others for things to die off. God gives us revelations and truths to propel us into new and different seasons. Because we are creatures of habit if things did not change we would become complacent stuck in the one place. When we think about gifts from God, we should begin at the beginning. The gift of life we receive from God provides us with many opportunities to enjoy the beauty and wonder of creation, to work and to rest, to give and to receive. God’s gift of life is the gift of unique life: each one of us is different, each of us with our own strengths and weaknesses. God’s breaking into the created time through Jesus Is his commitment to this world and its people. Martin Luther said, ‘Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my little apple tree and pay my debts’. Luther agrees that the return of Christ ought to make us more faithful in our duties to God and man. Living expectantly does not mean living recklessly.
Keep your perspective balanced. Until that day, let us live expectantly, let us live responsibly and let us live for His glory. Let us live like there is no tomorrow, because one day, there will be no tomorrow only eternity to enjoy His presence and love forever. Don’t become obsessed with what will happen, but keep your mind fixed on faithfully following Jesus whatever happens. Don’t lose your head or your faith, no matter what happens! Do not let what may nor may not happen distract you from praying for God’s will to be done. Never let the headlines discourage you from trusting God to do His will in your life. God’s gifts are full of variety. His purpose is that we should use our gifts to help and bless other people not to hide them and certainly not simply to please ourselves. Our purpose in life is not to see our will done, but His will done on earth as it is in Heaven. Giving glory to God. Let us offer back to God that which he first gave to us that all may be blessed for the work of his kingdom.