Summary: A sermon on Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 on the obstacles and opportunities for each new season of life. (Thanks to many SermonCentral contributors for many ideas and illustrations)
Sermon for 5/22/2005
The difference between Jason and me, we are in different seasons of life.
A. Our Scriptures today talk about times and seasons in every life.
B. There are times and seasons that all of us will pass through. There are times and seasons that are unique to certain individuals.
C. Most of us are not satisfied with the season where we are in life. I think of the past with nostalgia. I think that the future will be better than this season.
D. Let’s look at Solomon’s descriptions of various seasons in life:
1. A time to be born- None of us asked to be born; it was something done to us, apart from us. The dates and circumstances are all different, but all of us have gone through birth and to live life as a baby. One season.
2. A time to die- None of us ask to die; it is something done to us by God. The dates and circumstances are all different, but we reach a season when we go through the valley of the shadow of death ourselves and with our loved ones.
3. A time to plant- This is a season where we are preparing for something in the future. A farmer plants the seed in preparation for the harvest. Seasons of preparation, of learning, of developing, of growing.
4. A time to uproot- This is a season where we reap what we have sown. A farmer spends all of his time preparing for the harvest and now it is here and he reaps what he has sown.
5. a time to heal- When we talk about healing, we also have to talk about times of sickness. There are seasons where we have physical limitations. Some have handicaps and some have lingering diseases. However, there are seasons where we have few physical limitations. There are times when we are healed of that physical problem and what a relief that is.
6. A time to break down (tear down), a time to build up- Youth is the time for building up. Muscles grow, abilities increase, coordination gets better. Then, if you hang on long enough there is a time when everything starts to fall apart -- "a time to break down."
7. A time to weep- Jesus was "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief," (Isaiah 53:3b). In a fallen world there will be times of hurt, of sorrow and weeping. Some times it lasts for years and some times for just a few days.
8. A time to laugh- there will be times too when it is right to laugh, to be happy and carefree.
9. A time to mourn- At funerals and for the spouses, family and friends of the departed. Jesus wept at the death of Lazarus.
10. A time to dance- a time to celebrate and to enjoy a festive occasion. Jesus attended the celebration of the wedding at Cana of Galilee. He entered into it and even provided part of the feast.
11. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing- This particularly has to do with our social structures, our relationships with others. There is a time when we need to embrace others, to show our support for them. But there is a time when we ought to refuse to embrace them. This could refer to bad friendships. This can also refer to our children. When they become adults we need to let them go and let them live their lives. However, even after they leave the nest there might come a time when they need support and encouragement beyond the ordinary.
12. A time to search, (a time to gain)- Work, marriage, children, new friends.
13. A time to give up, (a time to lose)- Retire or quit work, say goodbye to a spouse because of death or infidelity, let our children go, move to another house or location, say goodbye to new and old friends.
14. A time to be silent and a time to speak- There are times when we know something, a piece of gossip, and we should not say it; we ought not to speak. There are times when we ought to speak, when something we are keeping secret would deliver someone or bring truth into a situation; a time to speak up. As a preacher, I speak every Sunday and if I live long enough there will come a time when I will be silent on Sunday morning.
15. A time to love- There is "a time to love," when it is right that we should extend our love to somebody who is hurting, someone who is feeling dejected or rejected, lonely or weak.