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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.

Eccl 3:1-8

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

them,

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

baby!

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

of what happened as recorded in Exodus 12 (quickview) , listen


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