Seasons change, as we all know. No matter how hard we try to hold onto the warm glorious months of summer, they still fade away into the rich colors of autumn. The autumn months are cooler and some favor these to the heat of summer. However, they too slip away into the bitter cold days of winter. Then, when you think the cold will never end, spring sneaks in and we begin all over again.
Seasons change in the world around us and, in a similar way, seasons change in each and every person’s life, both physically and spiritually. I’ve been reading through Ecclesiastes recently. King Solomon, who is arguably the wisest man who has ever lived aside from Jesus Christ, states: “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
The seasons have changed in my family recently in many ways. In addition to this change of seasons, I have watched my oldest sons rapidly go from crawling babies to tree-climbing, toothless boys with skinned knees. Then, seen them grow into young men who begin to tower over me, displaying manly characteristics and a tone of voice that resembles my own.
Have so many years gone by already? Where did the time go?
As seasons change so people must change. The key is knowing what season of life you are in and living for that season.
As the weather turns cold, the time for shorts and muscles shirts is replaced with coats, scarves and warm hats. We adjust to the seasons as needed. We must understand the things that worked last season in our lives may not work in the next.
An area we often times make mistakes in during our daily walk is assuming what worked last season will always work. However, that is not always the case. Shorts in the dead of winter may not be the wisest choice and so we must change.
Solomon goes on to say:
“For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.”
Now that my sons are growing young men, I will begin to treat them differently for this new season of life they are going through. I spend time showing them that as young men they have a responsibility to act as young men act. As a fifteen year old boy, he is not to throw a fit in the middle of the store because I tell him that I will not buy him a candy. This may have been expected in a previous season of life (age 3) but he has now grown beyond that. No longer are they to act as they did when they were seven-year-old, toothless, muddy boys.
Paul say’s in 1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.”
In doing this, I show my sons that they are also to change with the seasons of life. When it is time to graduate from high school, they move on to a new season. The completion of college is a new season. Marriage is a new season. Children are a new season and so on. They must grow, adapt, learn from mistakes and trust that Jesus is guiding them through each season in His time.
I recently heard a pastor say that some people are impatient for the coming seasons of life. It is as if they are standing in front of a dormant apple tree in the dead of winter yelling at it demanding that it immediately produce fruit. (Mark Driscoll) This cannot happen. We have to wait. God will change things in HIS time. We can try to hurry things along, but often times we just waste our efforts by yelling at a tree (imagine how that looks).
Studying the book of Ecclesiastes, I have found it interesting that King Solomon sought out the meaning of life. To set the stage in Solomon’s life, we look at a young man who went before God and, instead of asking for riches or self-glorification over his enemies, he asks God for wisdom to lead his people well. So, in taking such a humble selfless approach to his opportunity to ask the creator of all things for something, Solomon is granted his request for wisdom. God also gives him riches beyond that of any other king before him and peace all around from his enemies. It is my belief that the book of Ecclesiastes is a book written by Solomon, nearing the end of his life. He writes much about his experiences and the different seasons he has gone through.
So what does the wisest man with unlimited wealth, power and prestige do? He attempts to find the meaning of life, of course! Solomon did a case study on the meaning of life and he concludes:
“So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.”
Does this mean we stop sharing the gospel and just have fun all of the time? By no means! We are to live for Christ in every way, everyday of our lives. But, because of his love and grace, God wants us to enjoy the life he has given us.
The point is to not look back at the last season of life and think “would’ve”, “could’ve” and “should’ve”. Similarly, try not to look too far forward into the next season ahead. Instead, SLOW DOWN. Enjoy and live in this season of life right now. Savor the sacred moments with family. Not only the Christmas mornings and birthday moments that pass by way too fast, but the “every-days”. The missing front teeth days and the first day of kindergarten days. The first pitch baseball days and the “hey dad I’m taller than you” days.
Sit around the dinner table with family and friends often and for long periods of time. Try not to rush through meal time, as to jump onto another electronic device. Instead, savor the moments together and enjoy the good food and good drink and good fellowship all to the glory of God. Rejoicing and find every way to be happy in God’s grace and providence. Enjoy the fruits of your labor for these are gifts from God.