everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a
time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up
what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to
break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to
laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away
stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to
refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time
to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to
sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love,
and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. What gain
have the workers from their toil? 1I have seen the business that
God has given to everyone to be busy with.
He has made everything suitable for
its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet
they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I
know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy
themselves as long as they live; moreover, it is God’s gift that
all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil.
else made a new year’s resolution? What are they? There is nothing wrong with
making resolutions. But often, we set goals
for ourselves- but we haven’t prepared ourselves internally for change.So if we say, “I’m going to join agym and work out three times a week- and I
figure it will take a total of 6 hours”- that means you have to give up
whatever you were doing during those 6 hours last year. You need to make 6
hours of extra space in your week.
friend of mine is considering gastric bypass surgery- its one of her
resolutions.But when you ask her “what
will you do now instead of eat? What will you replace food with?” she said she
hasn’t thought about that.
of people on social networks, Facebook, Twitter, etc, are making statements like “my
new year's resolution is to spend less time on FB." Ok- then what are you going
to fill that time with?| Even in church life, and sometimes especially in church
life, we want to step up to different things, but we haven’t taken stock of
everything we are already doing and decide systematically where we are going to
fit things in.
your personal life- you might say “My resolution is to spend more time with God
this year- to read the bible through, or to pray more”- great! But what are you
going to do with the things that filled that time before… do you see what I’m
asking you to think about?
see it's fine to have goals or resolution, or to get more involved, or even to
step up in following God’s call to leadership; but first we need to plan for those
goals realistically. When you make a plan to implement anything new, in your life, you first take
stock of what you already have- already doing… and in our case, what already
fills our time.
why I picked this text for today from Ecclesiastes.It’s perfect for what we are talking about
because it’s all about time.
although our translation says “there is A time to be born, A time to plant, A
time tolaugh- in the Hebrew there is no
article. In other words, the Hebrewreads, 'in everything there is time to be born, time to plant time to
that means to me, is that God has given us time for everything. And if that’s true,
then most of us are doing something wrong, because in any given day I don’t
have the time to do everything I want to do, much less add something new- and
now I have these resolutions I want to add… hmmm.So maybe it’s time to take stock of where we
are… of how we have spent our time last year so that we can be free to make
space for the new things we desire for our lives.
I thought we could do this together, via a time of meditation and reflection
(don’t get scared…) I’m going to go through the text slowly, and addsome simple questions to guide you in
thinking about the past year… Some find it helpful to close your eyes- some to
take notes, whatever you are comfortable with.Let's begin….
everything there is a season, and time for every matter under heaven:
time to be born, and time to die;How have you
celebrated birth this year- think about the new babies who have been born this
year… have you celebrated your own birth… the birth of Christ… rebirth of some
kind…and who are the ones you have said good bye to this year…
...time to plant, and time to pluck up what is planted;- what things did you sow into this past year-
what did you invest in that would build something or someone up… what kind of a harvest did you see from what
you planted- what got finished this year that you consider an accomplishment…
(doesn’t need to be big)
time to kill … what are some of the things you
stopped this year- things that needed to come to an end that you had the
courage to stand up and say, no more… what things have you intentionally left
time to heal;
what healing has happened in your life this year? Emotional? Physical?
time to break down…
what are the things you have taken apart this year… or, when have you broken
down this year… meltdowns and coming apart happen in all kinds of ways.
time to build up;
when have you experienced a sense of building this year? What things have you
been intentional about improving or building on? What have you learned?
time to weep…
when have you cried this year? Why? What came out of it? Was there cleansing or
did the crying just lead to more tears… when has your heart been broken? When
have you been moved to tears from sheer joy?
time to laugh;
when did you find yourself in an all out guffaw! When did you laugh so hard
your cheeks hurt?And... did you spend
enough time laughing?
time to mourn,
have you taken time to grieve this year… the loss of a loved one, the loss of a
job, the loss of an idea or a dream… the loss of health, or independence... the
loss of an expectation… have you mourned for the things you have lost, even
though you may be in a better place?
time to dance;
did you dance this year? Even if it was in the middle of your kitchen or in the
shower where no one could see you… even if you just bopped your head up and
down in church… when did you let your body become a physical expression of your
time to throw away stones, What are the things you have thrown out that
were weighing you down? Or, what things did you get rid of that you used to use
to hurt others, or yourself?What have
you moved away from so that it can’t do any more damage?
time to gather stones together; what things have you put into your back pocket this year…
things that you want to keep with you that you have picked up along the journey
of faith… things you have been surprised at… thoughts you’ve begun to collect-
teachings you have gained understanding of… new friends that have entered your
life that now you can’t picture living without…
to embrace, -This one can mean so many things but, literally- think about
all of the people you have hugged this year… how it felt.. their faces when you
time to refrain from embracing; when have you had the urge to do something, but knew it
wasn’t the right thing- when you stopped yourself.
time to seek, When were you intentional about
looking for something? keys or earrings…or relationship... or maybe you were
seeking God…discerning God's call on your life...
and time to lose; when have you had to
accept defeat this year… when have you had to accept loss… and when did you
lose on purpose- or sacrifice on purpose…
time to keep,
what things from the past did you decide to hang on to… and a time to throw away; 7
time to tear,
what did you rip apart this year- what
has been torn in your life…
time to sew;
what things have you taken the time to create… or put back together.. Is
there someone you have hurt this past year through your words or actions? Did
you ask for their forgiveness? Is there someone who has hurt you this
past year through words or actions? Can you offer them forgiveness?
time to keep silence,
When have you kept silence… not praying, or thinking or sleeping… but just kept
still... and had a quiet moment… or, when hav e you just kept your mouth shut,
that later on, you though... I'm so glad I was quiet...
time to speak;
when have you spoken out when you found it difficult… have you spoken for those
who had no voice… have you spoken for yourself?
time to love, have you let yourself really love
this year? What or who have you loved…
time to hate;
have you seen things wrong in the world that cause you to be so angry you would
call it hate…
for war... what have you fought for or against this year…
time for peace...
when did you seek shalom… when did you work toward or experience peace…
I could finish this up with some
conclusion that I come to of that I have come to- but I think I’m just going to
end it here- because hopefully each of you can come to your own conclusion about
your life this past year, where you have spent your time, and what you wish to
make time for this coming year...If you
want to take it to the next step- Make a list of the five
most important and soul-nourishing activities, and spend a day or at least take time before New Year's Day to
savor these experiences. We all get the same gift of time... time for