Summary: Was a New Year’s Message, but good for anytime. Seasons are passing, but productive. We should simply decide to enjoy them.
here we are again at the end of a year. Really there is no difference between this day and any other. Time passes. The date changes every night at midnight. Every 7 days we enter a new week. Every 30 days (or thereabouts) we enter a new month. But it’s every 12 months – or at the changing of the year – that we really become aware of the passage of time.
I suppose that it is because every part of our calendar dates will be repeated – except the year. It will be 11:00 am again. It will be Sunday again. It will be December again. It will be the 31st again. But it will never be 2006 again. At least not in our lifetimes!
But for whatever reason – during this period we all pause to think about what happened in the past year, and set goals for the New Year. We’re making New Year’s resolutions. We’re joining health clubs. We’re reviewing books and creating budgets.
You know – I was thinking… Life would be a lot easier if we would apply this kind of focus more frequently. Actually – that’s part of the reason for a Sabbath day. It is a weekly time of rest, reflection on the past week, and preparation for the week ahead. It occurs to me that if we did that weekly, our resolutions would be much more effective!
Another reason we measure things by the year. A year marks the passage of one full orbit of the earth around the sun. And due to that orbit, the seasons will cycle again. There was a winter last year, as well as a spring, a summer, and a fall. Guess what is coming in this year. We will have a winter, a spring, a summer, and a fall.
It is this very cycle that Solomon is referring to in our text. Life has seasons. There is a time for everything. Some of the things that he lists we don’t like to think about. We don’t enjoy them. But they will happen. We will experience seasons in our life. Seasons of birth, and death. Seasons of planting, and seasons of harvesting. Seasons of building, and seasons of tearing down. Seasons of weeping, and seasons of laughing.
We all go through seasons. What I want to talk to you about today is – How to Make the Most of Life’s Seasons.
First of all – let’s take a look at what we know about seasons:
They are CERTAIN
They are PASSING
They are REPEATED
They are PRODUCTIVE
How can we enjoy the seasons?
We can’t change the seasons. But we can change our perspective of the seasons.
In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon seems frustrated and bored. (read the first few verses of the first chapter). But you will notice that his perspective is that of under the sun.
But in this book, he arrives at some conclusions that help us to make the most of the seasons of life. They can be beautiful – but in order to see the beauty we must begin to see them from a different perspective.
God ORDAINS them (v 10)
They are BEAUTIFUL (v 11)
There is an ETERNAL PURPOSE (v 11)
We cannot see the WHOLE PICTURE (v 11)
So how can we make the most of these seasons?
God’s purpose in the seasons is so that our relationship with Him will be changed. (v 14) Because the beauty is in him. The eternal purpose is found in him. He alone knows the whole picture. And it is only in relationship with Him that the monotony of the seasons is replaced by hope. And outside of him, there is no hope
What makes the cycle of seasons meaningful is HOPE.
“Remember that you were… without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far away have been brought near…” Eph 2:12-13 (NIV)
Jesus came to redeem time. He came to set right what Adam had made wrong. Col 1:16 tells us that all things were created by him and for him. It is only in him that the eternal beauty and purpose of the seasons is revealed. Only in him can we see the whole picture.
Just as Christ brings meaning and hope to the seasons of time – he also brings the same to the seasons of your life.
3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:3-8 (NIV)