Brent Sinclair – Associate Pastor – Adult Ministry
For Everything there is a Season
Autumn is here to the delight of most. However, for the first 40 years of my life, fall marked the beginning of a season of miserable allergy and sinus problems. In Oklahoma, the beginning of fall was synonymous with ragweed and hay fever havoc. Each October was met with dread because my physical condition, distorted by antihistamines, antibiotics and sinus infections clouded my outlook of the entire season. Thanksgiving, the first frost, and college football were redeeming events that seemed to make the season bearable. We all have our own seasons to endure and comparatively my experience may pale to yours.
To prepare myself for the impending seasonal misery of fall, I was drawn to read one of the more somber books in the Bible, Ecclesiastes. I did this every year, every autumn for 20 of those 40 years.
At first glance, Ecclesiastes comes across as somewhat gloomy with opening verses like “Everything is meaningless, completely meaningless!” 1:1 NLT The writer, identified as “The Teacher” and most likely Solomon, details his lifelong quest to find meaning and value in life “under the sun.” His conclusion: apart from God life is meaningless and futile. Here is someone who has truly done all, seen all, and had all, concluding that ALL is vanity. So, that means you and I really don’t need to test that theory and dispense all our resources in the process.
God used this book in a season of my life to teach me that life under the sun is full of toil and is meaningless without life in the Son. Further, toil and labor can actually be good for us as acknowledged by the Teacher, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom” Eccl 9:10 NIV. Echoed and repurposed in Colossians 3:23 by the Apostle Paul, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” God was using these verses and this season of my life to teach me to work through pain and circumstance and focus on who I was working for. Through these experiences my faith grew as did my endurance. I discovered there is purpose and redemptive value in all seasons of life. The purpose may not always be constant, it may change just as the seasons.
“For everything there is a season…” a catchy phrase, made popular by the musical group “The Byrds” in 1965, was originally written by the Preacher about 3000 years earlier. This prose captures both the importance and temporal nature of seasons in our life:
A Time for Everything
3 For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
2 A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
3 A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4 A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
5 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
6 A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
8 A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NLT -The Teacher
Fall and Ecclesiastes ended when our family moved to Arizona. No more allergy, no more sinus infections, no more prescription medication. It was both physical and spiritual redemption since I could see, breathe and taste in a way never experienced before. Fall became a season of enjoyment and wonder without the dread. God awakened my spirit in new ways that I thought were not possible. This new experience set our family on a path of adventure, one that would eventually lead to a passion for church planting. But that’s another story. Other seasons would follow, each in their own time and each with their own challenge.
What season are you in? What does God want to redeem in you or through you in your season? Will you allow Him to make something beautiful in you in time?
“Yet God has made everything beautiful in its time. He has planted eternity in the human heart; but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 NLT