It is spring now in Minnesota! The birds can be heard singing, the geese are honking, and soon the leaves will be coming out on the trees. Seasons. God, in His wisdom, has divided up life for us here on earth into years, seasons, months, weeks, and days. God created season (see Genesis 1:14). Here in Minnesota, we have four seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. Some Minnesotans say there are only two seasons: winter and road construction.
The seasons are also a picture of life. Think about some of life as reflected in the season of nature.
- Spring – the beginning of life
- Summer – the years of achievement and adventure
- Fall – the later years, retirement
- Winter – the end of life
The Bible has much to say about the seasons of life. God created the seasons (see Genesis 1:14). The book of Ecclesiastes contains a brilliant picture of the seasons of life. In Chapter 3, Solomon, out of his lifetime of experiences, declares:
“To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, NKJV)
Solomon begins with…
“A time to be born,
And a time to die” (Ecclesiastes 3:2a, NKJV).
And he finishes with…
“A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace” (Ecclesiastes 3:8, NKJV).
Take time to read the entire chapter and digest its wisdom. Solomon also goes on to write, “He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11a, NKJV). What season are you in now? For me, it is winter, and yet I am still rejoicing in the Lord, though my days may be few.
The concept of seasons also applies to individuals. We have a life span, sometimes viewed in seasons, like those in nature. The Springtime of youth, the Summer of successes, the Fall to enjoy the harvest, and Winter where we approach the end. We will not eternally live on earth in our present state. Time waits for no man. The reality of life and death is something we must face. No one knows how long we will live or how soon we will die.
Indeed, James 4:13-14 (NKJV) declares, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away (Emphasis Mine).” We all have a purpose to life, but there are various seasons within that purpose. We are here for a season. Our times are in His hands (Psalm 31:15), so let us not forget it. Marriages, too, have seasons, but that is another story to be told.
Nations, like people, often think they will exist forever, but they too have seasons. In Acts 17:26 (NKJV), Paul declares, “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings.”
Think of the nations in Bible days, and you will see that none of them lasted forever. Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and the Roman Empire (which lasted longer than most) all came and went.
Look at some of the more modern examples. Spain, France, Britain (It was said the sun never set on the British Empire), Russia, and America, just stepping into all this is Communist China.
But none of them will last forever. Only the kingdom that Jesus builds when He returns as King will be an everlasting kingdom.
WHAT ABOUT AMERICA?
Dr. David Jeremiah, in his book “The Book of Signs,” has this to say about America: “The average lifespan of the world’s greatest civilizations has been about two hundred years. During that two-century span, each of these nations progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back into bondage.
At what point is America in this cycle? In 1947, forward-looking sociologist Dr. Carle Zimmerman wrote a text called Family and Civilization. He identified eleven “symptoms of final decay” observable in the Fall of the Greek and Roman civilizations. See how many characterize our society:
- No-fault divorce
- “Birth Death”; increased disrespect for parenthood and parents
- Meaningless marriage rites/ceremonies
- Defamation of past national heroes
- Acceptance of alternative marriage forms
- Widespread attitudes of feminism, narcissism, hedonism
- Propagation of antifamily sentiment
- Acceptance of most forms of adultery
- Rebellious children
- Increased juvenile delinquency
- Common acceptance of all forms of sexual perversion
One cannot read lists such as these and doubt that America is throwing away its treasured position as the most blessed nation. Remember, God blessed this country for a reason: our nation was founded on submission to Him… Almost six decades ago, President Herbert Hoover wrote a warning that I fear America has not heeded. He stated, “Our greatest danger is not from invasion by foreign armies. Our dangers are that we may commit suicide from within by complaisance with evil” (Jeremiah, 2019, p. 66).
So the question is “What season is America in right now?”
CHURCHES AND CHRISTIAN MINISTRIES
Think about the churches and denominations. Many traditional churches follow the same pattern. The end result is that they become institutionalized, living on foundations from the past and simply creating an organization that lacks the life that first brought it into existence.
But this also applies to local church congregations. Go to the center of many American cities, and you will see many churches that were once thriving, dynamic churches now struggling to stay alive. This happens not just with traditional churches but also with evangelical and pentecostal churches. When I came to Minneapolis – St. Paul in 1980, Jesus People Church was a dynamic church down on Hennepin Ave. I preached there one Sunday night. Now, it is no longer there. Even strong Pentecostal and Evangelical churches of the 1980s and 1990s are no longer the dynamic churches they once were. Their season has passed, and a whole new breed of campus churches has risen, riding the present wave.
The same can happen with Christian Ministries. Often started by a person or group of people, they too can become institutionalized and lack the spiritual life of their early days. Sometime back, a leader I know, who was the head of a renewal ministry, led the organization into closing the down because it had fulfilled its purpose for its generation. I wrote to him, “It takes faith to start a new ministry but it also takes faith to close it down” when the time has come to do so,
WHAT SHOULD CHRISTIANS DO?
In Acts 13:36 (NKJV), there is a significant word that can be related to seasons: “For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption.”
It points out that David was born for such a season by the will of God, and he served his generation to fulfill God’s plan for that time. All of us have seasons in our lives. Nations, churches, and Christian ministries also have seasons.
So what do we do? I might suggest five steps to take:
- Recognize that there are seasons to life. Our lives are made up of seasons.
- Make the most of the season you are in.
- Realize that the season you are in may be coming to an end and get ready for a new season in God.
- Remember, “You only have one life to live. Only one life to give to Jesus.” So give it all to Jesus and live your life to the fullest.
- Remember, your times are in His hands (Psalm 31:15).
I love the description in Acts 13 of King David, how he served God in his generation. The challenge is for all of us following Jesus to do the same. We are called to serve God in our generation right now in this season of our life. Go do it!
Jeremiah, D. (2019). The Book of Signs: 31 Undeniable Prophecies of the Apocalypse. United States: Thomas Nelson.