Seasons of God

Bible Book: Ecclesiastes  3 : 1-8
Subject: Life, Seasons of; Growth; Aging

Enjoy what you’re doing, where you’re doing it, and make the most of every experience. Eccl. 3, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under Heaven.”

Iain Provan, “Everything in our lives has a season, an appropriate time, not in some random way but in a manner that’s charged with purpose.” Human experience as a tapestry woven of times, is a way to recognize life.

Spring is the time of beginnings, exciting opportunities, and anticipation for the future.

Seeds planted in this time will then take root and mature during Summer’s labor, producing a harvest in the Fall, a reaping of our efforts. Then everything draws to a close in Winter.

Normally, we think of childhood and youth as springtime, while summer represents the emerging prime of life. Then fall (autumn) starts somewhere beyond middle age perhaps, and everything slows and fades to a finish in elderly wintertime.

Not talking about the concept of aging, but rather our growth, our progress, our advancement.

Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional. Each season is unique and adds important dimensions to life.

Spring is about potential, promise and possibilities. Time of beginnings, can be invigorating. Spring offers brand new opportunities and possibilities; about beginnings.

Summer is a time of growth and maturation. The seeds we planted during summer mature into full-sized plants. Summer is a season of work, when we invest the time and effort required to become good at what we do.

- It’s hot/humid

- It’s dry

- Most look for the shade/air-conditioner

Autumn is the season of harvest. We see the production/reward of our labors. It’s when our hard work begins to pay-off. We may not be the best in our field, but we’re now our best.

Winter is the season of winding down, withdrawal, retreat, and closure. Activities, responsibilities, and relationships draw to a close in winter. This is the time of ending. It’s also a period of rest, restoration, and reflection.

GOOD NEWS!

Once winter passes, another spring is at the doorstep.

Isaiah 42:9, “Behold, the former things have come to pass, a new thing I declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.”

Isaiah 43:19, “Behold, I will do a new thing,

Now it shall spring forth;

Shall you not know it?

I will even make a road in the wilderness

And rivers in the desert.”

PROBLEM:

Some people want to jump straight from the idealistic stage of spring to the harvest season of autumn without putting in the hard work of summer.

ILLUSTRATE:

How long did it take to prepare last Sunday’s message? 36 years.

All seasons have a potential dark side.

For example, spring holds its dangers as well, including tornadoes and devastating floods. The same seasons that can bring delight to some can be lethal to others.

GOOD WORD:

What a relief to know that having to endure a harsh spring (or any other season) in your life doesn’t mean that your next time through that season will be equally as difficult.

It’s life’s diversity that makes it so interesting.

SPECIAL NOTE:

The way we handle one season profoundly impacts how we experience the seasons that follow.

Remember, we can’t control the weather, but we can determine our responses to it. The choices we make today produce future results at compound interest.

The effort we make during our summer determines the rewards of autumn and the comfort of winter. You can’t enjoy a bumper crop in autumn if you waste your summer taking siestas.

ANOTHER PROBLEM:

You can try to rush into a new season too soon or hold on to one after its time is past. Season-rushers – before prepared. Fail to fully explore possible options in light of their goals and values in life and their calling from God. They limit their possibilities and often miss out on the wonder of their life’s journey. They set themselves up for a mid-life crisis, boredom in their career, divorce, and other calamities.

Spring is a time to investigate those opportunities. If not careful, you attempt to cut short a divinely sanctioned process.

Season Graspers – problem is that we cannot get the most out of life if we hold on to a season past its expiration date.

The way to live the most fulfilling life possible is to squeeze every ounce of life out of each season and then move on to the next season when it comes.

ILLUSTRATION: Our children growing up and getting married.

God’s gift of life is something we’re to take day-by-day from His hand.

Matt 6:11, “Give us this day our daily bread.”

There’s a right time, an appropriate season, for everything we do, and it’s our responsibility to discern it.

We need to be “season sensitive” in how we live our lives. Sometimes, we are tempted to get ahead of God, and at times we are sluggish in moving forward with Him.

Too many people squander major portions of their lives because they’re continually gazing at life’s distant shores instead of opening their eyes to amazing opportunities lying before them today,

We need fresh commitments to living vitally in the here and now; ultimately we can only live today.

LESSON:

Most people have regrets of some kind; no one has an unblemished past. This can hijack our lives. We can’t go back and change what we did previously. We can learn from our mistakes and enthusiastically live today.

Phil 3:13, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead”

Maybe he agonized over his role in the murder of a righteous man, Stephen. Nothing he could do to change his former actions or their outcome. All he could do is to live his life well in the present.

When we recognize that life cycles through seasons of preparation and molding (painful at times) and on to seasons of fulfillment and usefulness, we can find ourselves liberated from regret and shame as we keep moving forward.

Over the years, as we walk with God, we too often see intensification in the springtimes we experience and what they mean for us. We’ll see each one building upon what has happened before, and we’ll sense God’s holy purpose for our lives with greater clarity as well as increased complexity.

Never think of yourself as too old for a dramatic experience of opportunity and promise from the Lord.

PATTERN:

Springtime can bring-

- A Renewal of God’s Promises

- A Confirmation of a New Identity

- A Refocusing of Future Vision

- A Reviving of our Worship and Reverence for the Lord

The Lord leads into new beginnings

Abraham

Left his country, security, etc. Founded a nation. New beginning with Isaac (Sarah) childlessness.

Jacob

Deceitful, yet the Lord’s new beginning led him into an encounter with God

Moses

From sheep herding to leading a nation; 80 years old – Springtime

Peter, James, Andrew, John

All were adults, well-established in their homes, jobs, and lifestyles

CONCLUSION:

As you enter Autumn:

Invest in others
Motivate others coming behind you
Encourage others coming behind you
Disciple others coming behind you