Summary: We must let go of sin so new life can flourish. An end-of-year message with application to Passover, Communion, Lent, New Year.
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace. NIV
INTRO In the months following my mother’s
commencement into glory, my sisters and I have
found it necessary to begin to sort through things
in her house. On one visit to Syracuse, I took two
carloads of stuff to the Rescue Mission, mostly old
pieces of luggage that had served their purpose
and were no longer needed by members of our
family. My sister found an entire drawer full of
nothing but shoelaces. We have made a list of
orange chairs and other odd pieces of furniture
that had accumulated for use in the furnished
rooms and apartments my parents rented to
students and low-income laborers. Since we no
longer own those apartment buildings, we plan to
put the furniture we no longer need on the first
floor so the Rescue Mission can come pick it up.
To everything there is a season. A time to gather.
A time to scatter. A time to collect. A time to
donate. A time to accumulate. A time to let go.
A time to keep. A time to throw away.
It is the better part of wisdom to know when is
the right time for each activity. To know which
things are worth preserving, and which are not.
At the end of the musical Fiddler on the Roof,
Tevye’s family is packing up a wagon to leave
their village Anatevka, when the Russian pogroms
force the Jews to leave their ancestral homes and
flee as refugees. After the agonizing struggle of
sorting through family treasures, Tevye says to
his eldest daughter, “Tzeitel, don’t forget the
baby!” He knows that life sometimes forces us to
relinquish many things we value, but that even
when we experience loss, we must not lose sight
of what is most important in life. When we throw
out the bathwater, we must not throw out the
So how do we know when it is time to hang on
and when it is time to let go? And how do we tell
the difference between trash and treasure? How
do we know what is junk and what are jewels?
Well, this is not the Antique Road Show, and I am
not qualified to assess the value of your
household goods. But we do have a guidebook to
help us discern what in our spiritual life is worth
keeping and what needs to be ditched – the book
is the Bible, of course.
So I want to look briefly at a couple of passages
that will help us decide what to preserve and what
to pitch in our spiritual lives.
When the people of Israel were slaves in Egypt for
430 years, God sent Moses to lead the people out
of captivity to serve the Lord. As I read the story