“To everything there is a season,
and a time for every purpose under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to break down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh . . . .”
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-4
Some of my fondest memories of growing up are tied to being part of an outstanding high school choir. There was no “magic” associated with our excellence, except for the relationship between choir director, Leonard Cesene–who clearly enjoyed and respected his students–and the students who worked hard to please him. Five mornings a week we met to learn and practice a diverse variety of music that ranged from popular tunes to the deep richness of the sacred. With every opportunity to perform, there was an almost palpable electricity that connected each choir member, as we watched for the nod of Mr. Cesene’s head and the movement of his upraised arms that signaled us to begin. As the modulated, energized sounds were delivered, Mr. Cesene’s eyes danced with approval as the audience enjoyed our singing almost as much as we did.
So many years later, I still appreciate the blessing of having been part of something so special in the awkward season of my teen-aged years. For me, the balance of respect and discipline under Mr. Cecene (as well as the wonderful exposure to sacred music) positively impacted future seasons in my life.
When I first read Mother Teresa’s observations on the seasons of life, I felt that same intense excitement of performing so long ago:
“Yesterday is gone.
Tomorrow has not yet come.
We have only today.
Let us begin!”
I like the way she set the stage, with three simple truths:
- “Yesterday is gone.
- Tomorrow has not yet come.
- We have only today.”
Then, with a soft yet theatric, WHAM! . . . her words, “Let us begin,” reflect the divine call of Scripture:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded
by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders
and the sin that so easily entangles.
And let us run with perseverance
the race marked out for us . . . .”
It is a passage that speaks to the rhythm of seasons ebbing and flowing as God’s people seek to live their lives by faith. That call continues to echo across time and generations to Christians today.
Two thousand years ago, the Apostle Paul wrote to convict and encourage some friends who were in trouble. They had been duped by false teachers who entered their ranks after Paul left them. He sought to encourage them with this wisdom and call:
“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”
Galatians 5:25, 26
Paul also wrote to warn them:
- To NOT lose sight of what they had been taught and
- To remember Christ’s promise of the Holy Spirit who was there to help them with every step they took.
Following up on the importance of the Holy Spirit’s availability to help them (and you and I), Galatians 6:8-10 warns of the pitfalls as well as the goal of living life well before the One who saves:
“Whoever sows to please their flesh,
from the flesh will reap destruction;
whoever sows to please the Spirit,
from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
Let us not become weary in doing good,
for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people,
especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
But how? How are we to enter into the rhythm of such a life? The answer is remarkably simple:
- By treasuring Christ as the Source of all that is good.
- By putting off old patterns–confessing our sins as forgiveness is sought.
- By putting on the newness that is ours in Christ, when we receive Him into our hearts through faith.
No matter what season in life you find yourself–in plenty or in want, in stability or in a season of uncertainty–God is right there to help you. Consider the reassurance, encouragement and hope offered by God in Jeremiah 29:13:
“You will seek Me and find Me
when you seek Me with all your heart.”
It is your faith in Him as the Shepherd of your heart, that will provide the courage needed to carry you through whatever you are facing.
As I remember Mr. Cecine’s eyes that encouraged us to give our best with every note we sang, I can also picture the eyes of a loving Shepherd who will lead His flock safely home . . .❤️
All to His Glory!