by Pastor Martha-Jean Fitch
June 30, 2019
TEXT: Ecclesiastes 3:1-11


Begin with a version of this Children’s Sermon - Finding Balance Object Lesson Script




Has anyone had a chance to use one of these tools? What is it called? A level is a really special tool. You can see it has a small tube of liquid with two lines marked on it and a bubble inside. When the bubble is directly in the center of the two lines, the level is perfectly balanced with the center of gravity. Can anyone tell me when you might use this and why it would be so useful?

            If you’ve ever helped your mom or dad hang a shelf or a picture, you know how important a level can be. When you’re hanging a shelf, you want it to be balanced and level to the ground. If it’s not balanced, what happens when you put things on the shelf? They can slide off! And depending on what you put on that shelf, that can create quite a mess.


The level is a good reminder that we need to have balance in our lives. In Ecclesiastes, Solomon talks about how there is a time and a season for everything. Right now, your lives are pretty simple. There’s a time to play, a time to do schoolwork, a time to be with family, a time to spend with the Lord, and of course, a time to rest. As you grow older, you’re going to have more things taking up your time: sports, music, school clubs, volunteer work, jobs, and, of course, more homework. It’s going to get more and more challenging to make time for all the things you want to do and have to do.


So how do you keep balanced? Let’s look at the level. We know the level is balanced when the bubble is in the center of the two lines. Just like the bubble, we can keep our lives balanced when we keep God in the center of our lives.  When you put God first, God will give you the wisdom to know how to keep that balance. You’ll learn to make time for the stuff you have to do—like homework, practices, and jobs—with the stuff you want to do—like playing and having fun—and the stuff you need to do—like spending time with God and your family.


When God falls away from the center, things can get out of balance very fast. But when you keep God in the center, you’ll find you have more than enough time to do the important things in life!


            As the children return to their seats, I invite you to get your Bibles out and turn to Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament.    Ecclesiastes can be found after the book of Proverbs.  So, go to the middle of the Bible to the book of Proverbs and turn right…and you’ll find the book of Ecclesiastes.


            As you are turning, let me tell you a bit about this book.  King Solomon wrote this book about 3000 years ago.   Solomon, was the son of the great King David – and was the 3rd king of Israel.  Solomon was considered the wisest man in the world and was a great, wealthy king.  He lived during the time of peace -  and had a lot of time just to explore life.  As he neared the end of his life, he looked back on everything he had done and asked himself the question:  “What is life about -- what is the purpose of life?”  The book of Ecclesiastes is really his journal of his thoughts in answer to that question.  As you look at verse 2 of chapter 1, you can see that Solomon felt that all of life just seemed “meaningless”.  In verse 14, Solomon sums up his thoughts and says, “I observed everything going on under the sun and really, it is all meaningless – like chasing the wind.”


            That phrase “under the sun” appears 29 times throughout the book.  And that really is the key to understanding the book.  “Under the sun”  really means life on this earth – under the sun – and life without God in the picture.   Even time – the cycles of life – can seem up and down – a turning and turning and an endless repetition --  meaningless – without God.  But with God – looking up above and into eternity, it can be beautiful.


            Let’s read our text for today from the 3rd chapter of Ecclesiastes, verses 1 – 11.


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.

What do people really get for all their hard work? 10 I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. 11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of

 God’s work from beginning to end.


      Solomon describes all the different seasons of life.  Sometimes life is good, and we rejoice and dance and embrace, we love and laugh.  But sometimes life is hard, and we cry and grieve, we tear down and hate.  We become burdened by life and we don’t understand it.   But the good news is that this hard life is not the end of the story!   There is more!   God plants eternity into our hearts.   And makes everything beautiful in its time!


We all go through different seasons of life – there seems to be change happening all the time.   Sometimes we welcome change in our lives – like when we have a new job or a new home…maybe it is a graduation or a wedding or maybe a new baby or grandbaby!   There are changes in life that are positive and exciting.   But then there are a changes in life that are difficult – especially when they involve sorrow and loss.   Times when there is great pain – perhaps in failing health or relationships that are strained or end.   But no matter what the change that happens in our life – we can be thankful that God does NOT change.  In Malachi 3:6, God says, “I am the Lord, I do not change – I am the same yesterday, today and forever.”  Because God remains the same, we can rely on Him through the shifting seasons of life.   We have an unchangeable hope because His presence is always with us and His peace has the power to guard our hearts and minds.  We can count on Him to work in the seasons of life and make everything beautiful in His time.   As Paul says in Romans 8:28:  “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.”


Truly, our times are in the hands of God – and He is at work in all seasons of our lives to help us grow and give us hope and strength.  But sometimes it is hard to see that there is a time for every matter in life – and that God is there through each and every spiritual season we are in. 


The first step to flourishing and growing in any spiritual season is to recognize which season you are in – and then to start claiming God’s promises throughout each and every season.     We are called to trust God at all times and pour out our hearts to Him in every season of life and know that He is our refuge and strength.  


There are at least five different seasons of life we can find ourselves in.  See which one best describes where you are right now:


1.      The Dry Season – times when we can’t sense God’s presence.   We may even feel like God is very distant or  has abandoned us.     

What is important during this season of life is to press on and not give up….because God will never give up on you.  Keep talking to Him – because He is there with you, even if you can’t sense His presence.   Keep reading His word – and keep going to church to worship and praise Him, even when things aren’t going the way you want them to go.   Eventually God will fill you with that life-giving water that will restore you.


2.       The Waiting Season.  It may be that you are in a season when you are praying and praying but not getting an answer.   You are waiting but God is still not acting or He hasn’t answered the prayer of your heart.   We don’t always know why God is waiting.   Maybe He is preparing you and is in the process of building you and growing you into the person He wants you to be.  Perhaps you need to have some time to grow – or He is preparing the other person or position for you.  In those times of waiting, we need to keep the faith and not doubt God’s plans or goodness.   Isaiah 40:31 says: “Those that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength.   They will mount up with wings like eagles – they will run and not grow weary – they will walk and not grow faint.”


3.      The Tests and Trials Season – This is a very tough season when you are going through times of suffering and pain.   You may not understand why you are going through these trials and you may be tempted to fall into discouragement and despair.   But this is a time to hang on and not give up.   Allow God to comfort you and strengthen you and give you hope.   Fix your eyes on Jesus and not your difficulties.   Know that He understands our weaknesses and our suffering and holds you in the palm of His hand.  And give thanks to Him that nothing can ever separate you from His love.

4.      The Happy Season – There are some seasons of life that are just times of great joy!   Times when life seems good and you feel God moving in your life.   This is a time to rejoice in the Lord and let others hear about God’s goodness!   Express your gratitude to God! And continue to keep your eyes on Jesus and giving Him the glory.

5.      The Busy Season – We have been talking a lot about the “busy” season throughout this whole sermon series.   It is those times when we feel like there is just not enough time in the day to get everything done.  We feel like we are just running from one task to another and filled with all sorts of stress.   These are the times when we just really make the times for our prayer chair, seeking God’s presence and guidance.   We need to press on, seeking God first and relying on the Holy Spirit to guide our priorities.


No matter what the season of life – the most important thing to remember is that God is there in EVERY season.  And we can trust Him to carry us through.   Words we can say each morning as we start our day are – Lord – each and every hour is yours – not mine.   I trust you Lord – You are my God – my times are in Your hands!”  (Psalm 31:14-15a)