Summary: Fourth in a seven part series, this sermon deals with Ecclesiastes 3.
Sermon Dan Neary
A Time for Everything Under the Sun
This is the 4th of 7 sermons in our series in Ecclesiastes.
I’m glad that Dr. Hobson suggested this series… and I’m glad that he is walking with us in this series.
We like his preaching. We would like to hear more of his preaching.
I’m not so sure we can take more of his singing!
Those who were here last week remember that Dr. Hobson submitted this Rolling Stones song as the ode of chapter 2.
This is certainly entertaining… but Dr. Hobson is really on to something here.
The sentiments that come from a plain reading of Ecclesiastes are more in line with the songs the world sings that the songs the church sings. “Someone has pointed out that Ecclesiastes often finds a welcome audience in the humanist’s university classroom, but it is carefully avoided by many Christians.”
We Christians tend to sing happy songs about good things… about God, and His blessings, and His goodness, and our relationship to Him. I like happy songs; I’m in favor of happy songs.
The world’s songs, on the other hand, are often not so happy. Even the ones that sound peppy and happy are often not so happy when you listen carefully to the lyrics.
It turns out that there is a Rolling Stones tune for many of life’s big questions. When it comes to time, there are at least a half-dozen or so (The Last Time, Out of Time, Good Time, Good Times – Bad Times, We’re Wastin’ Time, Time is On My Side, Time Waits for No One).
The message isn’t always the same. Time is On My Side (that sounds like a good thing)… but then Time Waits for No One (that seems to resonate a bit more with our text in Ecclesiastes).
Ecclesiastes sounds more like popular music than the happy Christian songs we tend to sing.
We need to be careful. Sometimes it is really easy for us to enter into a Christian cocoon. Christian music, Christian friends, Christian decorations for our homes, we even begin to speak Christianeese. Listen carefully, please, I am very much in favor of all those things… but the danger is that we become so isolated that our messages, even our lives, become irrelevant to the world in which we are to be salt and light. We have to be careful that we don’t become so isolated, so deaf to the regular questions of living and struggles of life without God, that we are without a voice to our neighbors and coworkers and families.
I’m not suggesting that we live lives that dishonor ourselves or our God by trading wholesome habits for destruction. We won’t be serving beer and cigarettes during our fellowship time. But we need to listen, watch, and understand.
These days “more and more people are struggling to keep their heads above a rising tide of pessimism about prospects for the future. To be sure, a handful of optimists predict a better, brighter tomorrow. Still, the mass of humanity remains less than convinced. A hundred years ago [in the modern era], faith in human reason and progress was probably at an all-time high. Today, it [seems] as low as ever. There are growing doubts as to whether the world can ever solve its problems on its own. Ecclesiastes speaks to this condition. It well expresses the profound disappointment that people feel when they realize that life should be better, but isn’t.”
Before we leave this classic rock era… one last song.
The Byrds released this in the year of my birth. Apart from the words that make up the title (Turn Turn Turn) all the other words in these lyrics are pulled directly from Ecclesiastes chapter 3. 42 years ago, the Byrds understood that these words in Ecclesiastes resonate with regular people.
So… on to these words in our actual text.
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 be born… and a time to die.
Of these fourteen couplets… the first three are along the same lines.
• Born – Die
• Plant – Uproot
• Kill – Heal
We all have a time to die. Try as we might to deny it, ignore it, avoid it, put it off… these lives as we know them, in these bodies, will come to an end. Maybe by accident, maybe by disease, often in a rather natural way after a long life… we all have a time to die. We just don’t know when that is.
Well… actually… we can know when that is if we’d just visit www.deathclock.com. I visited and answered a few simple questions and found out that I’m scheduled to leave this world on June 15, 2053. The good news is that it is a Sunday… so I know I’ll be right here with you whom I love so dearly! The clock calculates that I have over 1.4 billion seconds… and it ticks them off in countdown fashion.