1For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: 2a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; 3a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
This is a well known portion of scripture.
Verse 1 points us to three things:
- That everything has its right time
- Therefore everything has a wrong time.
- Therefore some things must end
If we can embrace those three ideas it will help us. There is a season for every activity. So sometimes it is not the right season.
Talking about “seasons” it can be a bit of a Christian buzzword. But it shouldn’t stop us for considering what season we are in and that we need to embrace that season.
I remember when judy and I were much younger and we were struggling with our priorities. Then someone mentioned about seasons and it was liberating. You’ve been awake all night with a squawking child, it’s alright that you haven’t had your daily quiet time. It’s alright that you can’t get to the things you used to, do the things you used to. Embrace the season you are in because the season you were in has ended.
You can’t do everything.
We need to be able to see that there are seasons in our life. That when a new season starts it does often mean the end of the old season. We are good at starting things, but not so good at realising when they need to end. Sometimes we hinder the new season from starting or are less effective because we are still trying to live in the old season.
When people talk about starting something new, I often ask – what are you going to stop doing to make way for it?
Last time I talked about growing tomatoes from seed. You need to do it in the right season. But the season of the seedlings being in the airing cupboard comes to an end. Let’s say you were so inspired by my talk of tomatoes that went out and sow some tomato seeds. Lovely. You follow my instructions – spot on. You can grow a nice little tomato bush – but you’re not going to get any tomatoes. Why? Because the season will end. Tomato starter kids were in Wilko yesterday for 25p. A bargain? No you are throwing your 25p away – it’s not the season.
God has put the natural world in place with its seasons. Here in Cumbria the seasons are less well defined – have we had summer? In other parts of the world you know when one season has ended and the other started. Canada. Monsoon. Don’t plan your picnic for monsoon season. Picnics are appropriate for a different season. So – know the season you are in.
- This life and the age to come
The big question that Solomon was looking at was the meaning of life. And in trying to understand the meaning of life he recognised that life itself on this earth is a season. It’s a season that will end.
For centuries and centuries people have wanted to find how to gain immortality. You can’t. this life is a season that will end.
For Christians the end of the season of this life leads into a new even greater season. In fact we’ve already got some of the downpayments (Ephesisans 1:14) of the future season – the spirit, the powers of the age to come.
So we have an overlap of seasons. We are living in the overlap. We want to enjoy as much of the new season as we can even before we are in it.
Jesus picked up on this theme said this is the year of the favour of the lord (not a literal year) in other words we are in the season of god’s favour – when we embrace that season by faith we are never out of that season
So our earthly life is a season that will not end but we are already included in the new season of God’s favour
In this overlap of seasons we have a season that will never end – eternity and we are already in it.
And we have a season of life on this earth – it will end
- The seasons of life
We have many practical seasons due to circumstances, our age, things beyond our control.
Getting married, having children, children leaving home, retirement. Embrace the season we are in. Also seasons that we would not have wanted divorce, bereavement.
A midlife crisis is someone wanting to live in a season that has gone.
Most of us will suffer bereavement. We need to face the reality of that. Not surprised at that.
Bereavement is a period of adjustment to the loss of an old season.
There are great stories in this church of people who have moved on into a new season.
- Spiritual seasons
We have spiritual seasons – seasons where God has particular things on the agenda for us.
God is often wanting to bring his people into a new season behold I am doing a new thing (Isaiah 43.19)
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
At the moment you are in a season of wilderness and wasteland but I’m bringing you into a season of streams, of blessing, of abundance …
- How do we respond to new seasons?
Problem for prophetic people is that they are often one season ahead. They have already seen the next season and want to be in it now.
Be content in this season but alive to leaving that behind for a new season.
Prophetic people want to live already in the season ahead.
Nostalgic people on the other hand want to go back to a season that has already finished.
Many of us love the idea of coming in to a new season – it fills us with hope and optimism. What we’re not always so good at is recognising when something needs to end. If a new season is starting then usually it means an old season is ending.
Battle – am I so attached to the old season that I can’t embrace the new?
Lets use an example – prayer time on Sundays. It will be ok one day to stop it.
We are not good at ending things. But endings are a necessity.
Ben and his room. New season of having a lodger.
If a church doesn’t have old seasons coming to an end and new seasons beginning I would question if it’s really alive?
In church we start something and it’s almost like it’s a life sentence. How will you stop being a housegroup leader? I can’t stop being a housegroup leader I’ll be letting people down.
Sometimes we need to include the end in our plan.
There is a season for everything under the sun.
Sometimes God is thinking to himself – when will they realise they need to stop.
When will nick realise he needs to stop. A time to speak and a time to stop speaking.
Why don’t we like ending things?
- Don’t want to let people down or hurt them
- Don’t want it to appear that we’ve failed
- Fear of stepping into something new (familiarity)
Finally: You don’t need to wait for something to die before you end it.
End things well.