To Everything There Is A Season

Posted on 07/20/2014 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


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HOLY IS THE KING

He is worthy, and we proclaim
The name of Jesus
is far above every other name
He is holy and we declare
His glory fills the earth
and there's rejoicing everywhere

He is mighty, and sovereign over all
He's coming for who's ready
when they hear the trumpet call
He is Jesus, the ruler over all
And every soul in worship
to the King will fall

Holy, holy is the King who reigns
The Son of God,
heaven and earth proclaims
In joy we bring to you our offering

(In spirit and - in truth we sing)
(And so to you - our lives we bring)
(As a li - ving offering)


ALL OF ME

I give you all of me
I give you all of me O Lord
I give you all of me
Come fill this place
(x2)

Fill me with your Spirit Lord
So I may do your will and walk in your way
Keep me in your presence
Every moment, I pray
So I will always love you
So I will always love you


YOU ARE MY ALL

You are my life
You are my strength
You are my song, Jesus

You are my heart
You are my soul
I want the whole world to know

That you are everything to me
And for all eternity
I will sing your praises

I give you my life
I give you my strength
I give you my song, Jesus

I give you my heart
I give you my soul
For you have made me whole!


*** listen to the audio to hear the introduction ***


Today, let's read from the third chapter of Ecclesiastes. This is a well-known passage, and there's even a popular secular song that quotes this pretty much word for word.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NKJV)

1 To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:

2 A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
3 A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
4 A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;
7 A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;
8 A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace.

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.

When we say that something is here for a season, that means that it started, and that means that it will come to an end. Nothing temporary lasts forever, and nearly everything in our lives is temporary.

Your sick body? It's temporary.

Your job? It's temporary.

Your calling to spread the Gospel? It's temporary.

Your marriage? It's temporary.

Your self-image? It's temporary.

How about prophecies? They're temporary.

What about the gift of tongues? It's temporary.

Sound doctrine and Biblical teachings? They're temporary.

1 Corinthians 13:8 says this: "If there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away."

So even the spiritual gifts are temporary.

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.

I think sometimes we forget that. The temporary things in our lives seem so big, so monumental, maybe even bigger than life. But in the big picture, they aren't. The time all of humanity has been on Earth has been around six thousand years. Next to eternity, the entire history of the Universe is just a blip in time.

Heaven and Earth will pass away. Only that which is ever radiating from God will last forever.


It's in our earthly nature to seek a name for ourselves. Our carnal man doesn't want to be forgotten. And we don't want someone else to be remembered for the good things WE have done.

But we are only dust. From dust we were made, and to dust we shall return. The form we generally call "me" will pass away.

Even in our Kingdom work, we want to be noticed. We want to be remembered. And we don't want that remembrance to fade away. But 1 Corinthians 3:5-7 (NKJV) says this:

5 What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one.
6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.
7 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.

God is the source of all life. All growth. Everything began with and in Him. And only that which He sustains will last forever. Everything that He does not sustain will pass away.

Sin will pass away. Sickness and death will pass away. Our mortal bodies will pass away. Even those of us who are alive when Jesus returns, our mortal bodies will pass away, as we are given glorified vessels.

We are given these bodies, and these bodies will pass away. We are given this Earthly life, and this Earthly life will pass away. We experience great joys and overwealming sorrows, and these, too, will pass away.

Do you have riches? They will fade away. Do you have poverty? It will dissolve. Do you have power and position? It will pass away. Do you have oppression and abuse? They will turn to dust.

I believe we so often get things out of perspective. I know I do. But I've also found that the more I let go of the past and future, and the more I surrender to what is, right here, right now, in this season of life, the less frightening and important the temporal things become.

I love my wife, I love our time together, I love my family, and I appreciate the temporary forms of their bodies, their minds, and our stories together. But there is something deeper, something that will last even after our bodies die and our memories fade into the distance.


Thinking about things like that tends to depress most people. I know it used to really disturb me. But that's because I was fighting against something none of us can change. And as I learn, day by day, to surrender to the time and place God gives me in this moment, not labeling it as better or worse than some other time and place, the more the thought of losing that which will definitely pass away is one with a deep, deep peace. And from that peace bubbles a joy, unspeakable and glorious.

If I lose something or someone very dear to me, I will feel pain and grief. And God will be right here with me in that time of grieving. And as the pain slowly fades away, God is still here. Always the same. And when I stop holding on to the way things have been, and I stop wishing for the way things might become, I start to notice that God is constantly making all things new.

As the place where we live slowly dissolves, and our bodies age and start to fade, this moment is always fresh, alive, and new, because God is here with us, always breathing fresh, new life into us.

As presidents and rulers come and go, and governments and kingdoms rise and fall, there is a constant. An eternal. A timeless. A solid, unchanging foundation upon which I can stand, you can stand, when everything else comes and goes. He is here, breathing life into you, breathing peace and contentment.

We tend to clutter our atmosphere with our never-ending thoughts about how this isn't right or that could be better. We think about things we think are our problems. We worry about what might happen, instead of being at peace with what is. We think with regret about what DID happen, instead of living with joy with what is.

After all, if you're in Christ Jesus, old things have all passed away, and everything is always new. Sometimes our minds just leave that place in Christ, and we get trapped in things that have already passed away. Or we worry about things that will some day pass away.

But I invite you to let these things soak in. Let all temporal things pass away. You can't stop them from doing so. And set your affections on those things that will last forever.


Okay, so we briefly touched on planting and watering, which is a principle that applies to spreading the Good News of reconciliation with God through Christ Jesus. It's not the planting itself that is of no lasting value, but simply the boost to our egos, our temporary, carnal self-image, that will pass away.

When someone sees Jesus through you and through Him, they are born again, THAT is something that will last forever. Their sins have been forgiven. Their old things have passed away. For them, all things are constantly made new. That's eternal. That's everlasting. That is of value. Not the fact that it was YOU who led them to Christ, but the fact that they ARE in Christ. How they got there doesn't really matter.

Your witnessing doesn't last forever. In fact, as soon as you are done planting or watering, your planting or watering cease to exist, and all that's left is the memory. So your good deeds are done, and then they are no more.

It is the fruit of those deeds, the fruit that comes because God gave the seed, God gave the water, and God breathed the life into that seed so that it took root and grew into something eternal.

I am nothing. And that's okay. The pain that we generally feel when we consider that fact, we can just feel it. Let it be. It's okay for our flesh to suffer through the realization of its impermanence. That suffering is good. The pain is good. And it will eventually be transmuted into peace.


Okay. For anyone who feels as though I'm just going on endlessly about death and loss and about how wonderful those horrible things supposedly are... You aren't supposed to make yourself take on this point of view. I'm just giving examples of the shift in perspective that happens automatically when you start recognizing and simply watching your mind, your ego, your flesh, the rising and falling of all the temporary forms in and around you, forms of thought, forms of self-image, forms of physical bodies, forms of financial statuses, forms of housing, forms of relationships, and all the other temporary forms in your life's story.

And if you never really see it in this lifetime, guess what... That's okay too. What is important is that which is, for you, eternal: and that is God. The Great I Am. Not the I Was, or the I Will Be, but the I Am that I Am.

If you are lost in your mind, I Am is with you.

If you are worried about your future or upset about your past, I Am is with you.

If you are trying to hold on to things that are destined to fade away, I Am is with you.

Right here. Right now. As things around you come and go. As seasons constantly change. He is right here, right now, always with you. Always in you. Always all around you.

With Him, you are filled, you are embraced, you are sustained. By Him, you are alive, you are secure, you are always new.

There is no story in which you get lost where He is not but a breath away. And when it feels as though He is absent, it is only because you're looking in the wrong time, and in the wrong place.

God is always with you right where you are, and He is always with you right now. When we need to search for God, it's not because He has gotten lost, but because WE have. But for the lost, He is as close as calling upon His name. And for the found, He could not be any closer to you than He is -- inhabiting your body right now. Just draw close to God, and you will discover that He is always drawing close to you.


Let's close today's service by reading from Psalm chapter 139. You are probably familiar with this passage, and today let's listen to this with the awareness that no matter where you are right now, perhaps lost in fears about what's coming or thoughts about the past, perhaps lost in some other place you plan to be or somewhere you have been before, He is still right there with you right here and right now. And as you realize it's just your thoughts that are doing what the fallen human mind does, you can come back to the present moment where God is with you, with His attention fully on you, and with His presence filling and surrounding you. And together, you and God can feast on His peace, His Love, and His everlasting life.

Psalm 139:1-14, 17-18 (NKJV)

1 O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
2 You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
3 You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
5 You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.

7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, "Surely the darkness shall fall on me,"
Even the night shall be light about me;
12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother's womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.

17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You.


This altar is open, and if you'd like to do so, you're invited to gather at the front right now and just spend some time in God's presence. Or you can stay where you are and do the same.

And beyond that, where you are sitting right now in front of your computer screen, spend some time with the Presence of the Great I Am.

Whenever you need to leave, you're dismissed, and if you can stay after this time of prayer and worship, you're invited to make your way up the steps to your left when you're done here, and we'll meet there in a few minutes.

If you'd like someone to talk or pray with you, you can instant message one of us, or if you're listening at a later time or outside of Second Life, you can go to almcyberchurch.org, click the Pastors' Offices link, and contact us there.

Come, not just to a physical or virtual space, but to the presence of God with you now, and surrender to the marvelous, beautiful, perfect plans of God.

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.