Scripture Passage – Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Description – A sermon for April 21, 2013
I felt led late this week to change my sermon text and theme from my current series to what I share with you this morning. I begin with a new text, familiar to many of us, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
“There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens…”
What time is it?
It is a question that is asked, very, very often, on a daily basis by each one of us here.
Sometimes we ask this question when we want to know what the clock indicates – nine thirty am or pm? Six twenty am or pm? Two fifteen am or pm.
Sometimes we ask this question when we want to know what we have to do next or what someone else has to do next…
It’s bath time!
It’s time for bed!
It’s time for the TV show.
It’s time to take out the trash.
It’s time to go to school!
It’s time for your medicine.
Sometimes we ask this question in the form of a statement when major changes in life take place or about to take place.
He died at…
She was born at…
The verdict was handed down at…
This past week I have been aware of the passing of time – both in hours and minutes and in years and decades.
There are two words in the language of New Testament Greek which refer to time.
One is chronos and the other is kairos. Chronos is the word with which we are both familiar- chronology, chronometer – it refers to time that we measure in minutes, seconds, hours, days, months, years.
The second word kairos is one that we don’t consider as we think about time. But it has to do with the issue of, as one source indicated, the right moment.
The marriage proposal…
Applying for college…
Starting a business…
The descriptions in our main text for this morning has to do with, I believe, both kinds of time.
Birth and death is both a season and a place in time event. There are seasons of life when we give birth to new ideas and opportunities and then there are seasons when we let certain dreams or a phase of life die – for example from “pedal to the metal” pace to an empty nest of loud silence and a snail’s pace.
There is a season of looking for the right opportunity or person to accomplish something. And then there is a season when the team has to be dismantled, the leadership needs to be changed.
Each of these moments have both a ‘season-the right moment’ and a ‘time- a minutes and hours’ component. They define our lives long term and short term.
That took place ‘before’ dad’s death
That occurred after Linda’s birth
But what the writer of our main text ultimately says to each of us is this:
God is present, in the midst of, all of them
The opportunity for us is to then look for God and then ask Him what He asks of us or what His mission or purpose is.
In my time as your pastor we have had seasons of growth and decline. We have had moments of study and discussion and then moments of action. These moments have been marked by times we can recall – that year’s congregational meeting, that Christmas’ play.
But this holds true for us individually as well.
Some of us are in the season of raising children while others of us are not. Some of us have raised our kids and they have, for the most part, left our home and lived on their own.
Some of us have been married and are now single. Others of us have never been married.
Some of us have been students but now we learn outside the classroom.
This past week I have pondered the passing of time as I sat in my mother’s hospital room and in waiting areas as tests were run. The locality of the hospital however also brought back memories as the neighborhood was the location of one of my mother’s mom and dad homes almost 70 years ago. It also reminded me of the long history my father’s family has had with Dayton for probably 100 years. Streets I drove had houses and neighborhoods we once lived in.
At times I was lost between past, present, future, and eternity.
I have also been reminded this week that others have been dealing seasons and times of death and grief; a new life and chapter with children; illness and other kinds of change.
God has been, and continues to be, present in the midst of it all.
So I ask you this morning two questions:
1 What time is in your life right now?
2 What season is it in your life right now?
One of things that I remember from time to time is that when I look out at all of you I know that we are at various times and seasons of life . And I will also tell you that it is a bit hard to keep track of so many different happenings and situations.
But while some of us are dealing with young children who get sick or who break legs and arms or who are struggling in school others of us are dealing with end of life issues and the children who were once two and three are now 62 and 63 or 42 and 43 and they are having fun keeping up with younger ones.
But what time is it and what season is it and are you experiencing God’s grace and love in the midst of it all?
Maybe it is a season of many opportunities
Or one of fewer and fewer options…
What is it that God desires of you right now?
Maybe it is a season when there are not enough hours in the day
Or there is too much time on one’s hands
What is it that God desire of you right now?
I believe after this week that God continues to dwell with us no matter what time or season it is.
It is my prayer that we walk with God in the midst of whatever season and whatever time we find ourselves in because God desires for us His good and perfect will all the time.