The Bible says we all have them.
Although written toward the last part of King Solomon’s life during a time of great idolatry and immorality, Ecclesiastes still has some power truths in its chapters. And, Eccl. 3:1-8 is definitely one of them — for it reminds us "To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven" (v.1).
Last week this truth was driven home when the body of one of our crew chiefs at the 188th Fighter Wing in Fort Smith was recovered near Glenwood. He’d been flying fire detection missions for the Forestry Service, but crashed in bad weather. He was well-liked and respected by his co-workers at the unit.
After visiting with his widow and attending his memorial service, I reflected anew on how fragile life really is. When Jake Harrell left home that morning, kissing his wife and 2 1/2-year-old son goodbye, he had no way of knowing that would be the last time until they meet again in Heaven.
But, such is the nature, cycles and seasons of life.
Someone once wrote, "Life is short, Death is sure, Sin’s the cause, But Christ is the cure." How true, how true.
No one needs to tell us of the brevity of life. That truth is often driven home at an early age when one of our pets dies or a loved one passes away. And, even if we’re spared that sorrow until later on in life, we’ll still experience it up-close-and-personal in a real way whether we want to or not.
As Solomon said, "To everything there is a season." Just as there are four seasons in the temperate climates — Spring, summer, fall and winter — so are there four seasons in life: Childhood, young adulthood, middle age and senior adulthood.
When we’re young, we feel invincible and think we can conquer the world. We’re willing, as someone said, to "charge hell with a water pistol — without being told!" But, as the years go by … and we go through "The University of Hard Knocks" … we slowly begin to realize our mortality, vulnerability and inabilities.
And learning to accept them isn’t easy!
Even now, I struggle with my "advancing maturity" and the fact that I can’t run as fast, jump as high and remember as much as I used to. It’s frustrating! It’s discouraging! But, such is the nature of life’s "cycles and seasons."
That’s why it’s important for us to choose wisely and invest our lives in those things eternal; otherwise, we’ll near the end of our lives with lots of regrets over what "shoulda, woulda, coulda have been."
In Matthew 6:33, Jesus gave us life’s true "Secret of Success," which is "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness — and all these things will be added unto you." He wasn’t preaching a "health, wealth and prosperity gospel" and referring to lots of the world’s goods. Instead, He was saying, "Always put the Lord God first in your life and you’ll experience firsthand what true life is all about."
Again, life is like farming. In the springtime you plant the seeds. In the summer you fertilize, cultivate, water, etc., the crop. In the fall you reap the harvest. And, in the winter you enjoy the fruit of your labors.
And, so it is with life. When we’re young, we "sow our seeds" and hopefully don’t spend the rest of our lives hoping for crop failure. Even if you spent your early years "sowing your wild oats," thank God for His Grace and Mercy that enables us to begin anew.
Here’s hoping you’ll spend some time this week reflecting on "For what is your life? It’s even as a vapor that appears for a while and then vanishes away" (James 4:14). Then let your loved ones know how much you love them and commit to making the coming years "The Season of Joy" as your life becomes a conduit of God’s Love to others. God bless you.
To contact Bro. Tom or receive his daily e-mail devotional, entitled "Morning Manna," write him at P.O. Box 10614, Fort Smith, AR 72917 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.