by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
I. Solomon said, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven” - Ecclesiastes 3:1
A. Each moment in time, each phase of life, must be treated in a manner appropriate to the events - Ecclesiastes 3:11
B. So many people create problems for themselves trying to stem the flow of time, attempting to hang on to past season instead of adapting to the current one.
C. The goal is to enjoy each season for what they present, both the good and the bad - Ecclesiastes 11:7-8
II. Youth, spring time, the season of preparation
A. Youth is a fleeting time to enjoy life - Ecclesiastes 11:9-10
B. It is a time of innocence - Deuteronomy 1:39
C. It is a time of idealism
1. Youth is a time to imagine what life ought to be
2. And teenagers are so disappointed to realize that life is not ideal.
a. “It’s not fair!”
b. Get use to it - Ecclesiastes 9:11
D. It is a time for parents to instill good habits - Proverbs 22:6
1. Even in youth we need to remember that God will judge us
2. Youth has a tendency to focus solely on the here and now
3. Life revolves around impulses and desires
E. Youth can be a time to demonstrate faithfulness - I Timothy 4:12
III. Manhood and Womanhood, summer time, the season of production
A. The apron strings are cut and now is the time to forge a new life of your own choosing - Genesis 2:24
1. Instruction to wives - Ephesians 5:22-24
2. Instruction to husbands - Ephesians 5:25-31
B. It is a time for starting a family - Psalm 127:3-5
C. It is a time of strength - Ecclesiastes 9:10
1. Use your ability to profit - Proverbs 10:4-5
2. The excellent wife - Proverbs 31:15-18
3. There is satisfaction in accomplishment - Ecclesiastes 5:12
D. But unless God is involved in this season, what you are building is a house of cards - Psalms 127:1-2
1. We must continue in the things we have learned - II Timothy 3:14-15
2. There is a tendency to think that anything you decide to do can be done, and it is often so because you have the strength to overcome obstacles.
3. But the danger comes from pride. Youth begins to think they have the right to anything they conceive of doing - Proverbs 16:18-19
IV. Maturity, autumn time, the season of provision
A. Strength fades but it is replaced with skill and wisdom - Proverbs 20:29
1. We might not be able to work harder, but we can work smarter
2. In many ways maturity is the most fruitful period of our life.
B. It is a time to mature in what we know - Colossians 1:9-12
C. It is a time for passing on what you have learned - Hebrews 5:12-14
D. It is a time to broaden our concerns - Philippians 2:3-4
1. During youth, our view centers on our self
2. During our young life we focus our spouse and family
3. But now is the time to raise our eyes and see that the horizon encompasses more than we previously imagined - Galatians 6:10
V. Elderly, winter time, the season of preservation
A. Strength might be gone, but it doesn’t mean life has stopped
1. True strength is not in the body, but in the spirit - II Corinthians 4:16-18
B. It is a time of loss
1. Friends die, family, and even our beloved spouse
2. For many the time for work comes to an end
C. For those who have invested wisely in the Lord, it is a time of honor - Proverbs 16:31
1. If we wait until old age, we won’t have the strength to invest - Ecclesiastes 12:1
2. Wisdom and understanding come to the aged because of the time spent in their younger days - Job 12:12
D. It is time to preserve our experiences in the minds of those we must leave behind - Job 32:7; Titus 2:1-8
E. Now is the time to endure
1. The difficult time in a race is not at the beginning when you are full of energy, but the final few laps when you energy is failing
2. We must hold to the end - Hebrews 3:14
3. It must not be a time of complacency but diligence because there are things to accomplish and there is not much time left - Hebrews 6:10-12
VI. Enjoy each season of life
A. Yoko Ono wrote a poem called “Season of Glass”
Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence
Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance
Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence
Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.
B. “When we were growing up years ago in our sleepy Southern town, most of the adults seemed rather staid and sober. There was, however, one memorable exception: Miss Lucy, a widow lady who lived with her prim and proper sister, Clara. But Miss Lucy was full of charm and sparkle and enthusiasm. One day Miss Lucy – in her 60s – asserted that she could still stand on her head. When we looked doubtful, she clamped her skirt between her knees and did so, beaming at us upside down. “Oh, Lucy,” said Clara. “Do be your age!” Miss Lucy righted herself. “What sort of nonsense is that?” she asked. “How can anyone be anything but their age? The trick is to love your age. Love it when you’re young and strong and foolish. Love it when you’re old and wise. Love it in the middle when the challenges come and you can solve some of them, maybe most of them. If you love your age, you’ll never go around wishing you were some other age. Think about that, Clara.” [Arthur Gordon, Return to Wonder]
C. Life changes, our abilities change, but each is a wonder and a challenge.
D. “I’m Not Growing Old”
They say that I am growing old.
I’ve heard them say it times untold
In language plain and bold.
But I’m not growing old;
This frail old shell in which I dwell
Is growing old I know full well,
But I’m not growing old.
What if my hair has turned gray?
Gray hair is honorable, they say.
What if my eyesight’s growing dim?
I can still see to follow Him
Who sacrificed His life for me
There on the cross of Calvary.
Why should I care if time’s old plow
Has dug some furrows in my brow?
Another house, not made with hand,
Awaits me in the glory land.
My hearing may not be as keen
As in the past, it may have been;
Still, I can hear my Savior say
Come faltering child, this is the way.
The outward man, do what I can
To lengthen out this life’s short span,
Shall perish and return to dust
As everything in nature must.
But the inward man the Scriptures say,
Ah, the inward man
Is growing stronger every day.
Then how can I be growing old?
I’m safe within the Savior’s fold.
‘Er long my soul shall fly away
And leave this tenement of clay.
This robe of flesh I’ll drop and rise
To seize the everlasting prize.
I’ll meet you on the streets of gold
And prove that I’m not growing old.
— John E. Roberts