The Expository Files


The Seasons of Life and Death

Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

``To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted, A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh....'' (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4).

As the seasons of the year, so are the seasons of life.

Death is far from the mind in springtime, when new life is seen all around, and life itself is filled with freshness and hope. New leaves adorn the trees, flowers blossom and birds sing, their fragrances and melodies sweetening the air. The "pulseless heart of the buried acorn'' bursts out of the prison walls of its shell and there emerges the beginnings of a mighty oak. All of nature seems to join in the joy of life. Such is spring, a season of life and beginnings.

Then come the long, hot days of summer. The burdens of life for man and beast cannot be escaped. Wise men make use of their foresight and strength to move purposefully forward. The toils and tasks of summer tax resolve and challenge dreams. It is among the saddest of tragedies that some miss summer's opportunities and glories altogether, as grasshoppers frittering away its opportunities, or as spoiled children ignoring its glories through the blindness of ingratitude. But summer does not last forever, and in due
course it too passes.

The beauty of autumn arrives, a favored time of harvests and rewards. But the days are shortening and the shadows are lengthening. The glory of the leaves' myriad colors is short-lived, and they silently fall to the earth. A chill in the wind is a harbinger of the winter that is just ahead. Migratory birds take wing in search of a warmer clime, and the great bears seek for a safe seclusion for their deep sleep called hibernation.

At last and inevitably, the frosts of winter come. The frigid blasts of winds and rain sweep across mountains and plains, hills and valleys, city streets and the countryside. The grasshoppers and tenderest plants are the first to die, but many hearty creatures succumb and even the stately oaks' and elms' limbs are barren and appear lifeless.

We reflect on the seasons, not to see and say that we shall die, but to luxuriate in the thought that there is another springtime. I am as confident of life after death as I am of the spring that follows winter. The latter I have seen many times, but the former is even more assured by the immutable promise of the Almighty God and the resurrection of Jesus Christ himself from the dead. (I Peter 1:3,4; Acts 17:30-31) Thanks be to God for this unspeakable hope.

-- Via The Bulletin of The North Courtenay Church of Christ, Vol. I, December 28, 1997, No. 52

By Jere E. Frost
From Expository Files 14.5; May 2007