To Everything There Is A Season
We have all heard Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 at a wedding, funeral or in the original “Footloose” movie. Just to refresh your memory:
1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 KJV
I have loved this passage of scripture since I was young. There is comfort in knowing there is a time and place for everything. This reinforces the idea that the season of life you are in will pass and there is more to come. Life is cyclical and so many more concepts can be pulled from this passage. Like many passages in the Bible there is a tie to the ancient agricultural society. The concept of sowing and reaping was something everyone was familiar with. In Biblical times no one had a chemical plant or food production company down the street supplying the local grocery store. If you did not farm, you were buying or trading with a farmer. You had to put the work in.
This morning my bible study started in the book of Ecclesiastes. Have you ever read the two chapters preceding this beautiful passage cited above. The first two chapters talk about the worthlessness of this world and our futile attempts. (Does not sound as uplifting right?) In the King James it refers to vanities, but in other translations it seriously uses the word worthless for our attempts to create or maintain something long-term. In one passage is compares us to animals…all of which return to dust. Honestly, it sounds a little grim until you grasp the context. Everything we do is in vain without God.
I am blessed to be beginning a new chapter in my professional life on September 5th. I will still be inspecting vehicles but I will no longer be working for GEICO. Instead I will be working for a local family owned business that is more in line with the priorities in my life and the lives of my family. When I emailed my supervisor the subject line read “The End of a Season”. He knew I was unhappy with my position, so my semi-poetic subject line gave the same message as “resignation” would have in its place.
The season of my life has been changing for some time. My faith has grown. I am no longer obsessed with making lots of money, I just want to get out of debt and be able to bless others, including my children and soon to be grandchildren. I want to interact with people and have a measure of comfort in my day-to-day. I realize to an outsider that probably does not sound very ambitious. I want to have the time and energy to write more. I need interaction with others to spawn my creativity. I need connection, purpose, and a some ability to schedule my life. (Yes, I do realize control is an illusion; however, I have a calendar and I am not afraid to use it.) At one point in my life I was determined to achieve a Ph.D. because I want to be called Doctor Gallien or Doctor Sue or have my author line read Sue W. Gallien Ph.D. (Looks cool right?) I may still pursue the doctorate but it is more about enjoying the educational process and learning than the vanity title.
This change is welcomed. To some it may seem this career move is a step backwards. You can think what you wish. This is a new adventure, a new season, an opportunity to be seized. I am excited and engaged. I have an opportunity to make an impact and not just be an employee ID number. As exciting as the new chapter is, it is worthless without God.
So I come back to Ecclesiastes, which I misspell every time I type it, in new and exciting ways. I read back over those words I have found comfort in for many years. “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under Heaven.” I can’t help but think of seasons changing. One of the reasons I love living in West Virginia is I get to enjoy every season. I can look off my deck and see the lush fruits of spring and summer in the dense kudzu on the trees. In a month or two the leaves will be moving from green to all the warm colors of fall. Then we will have a blanket of snow that makes our aged community look as lovely as a Norman Rockwell painting of old. We are in a constant state of change, but there is nothing new under the sun. That is fascinating to me. So as the seasons of my life change, I find comfort that this is not anything new to God. He knows the past and holds my future in his hands. I need only be obedient and I will be blessed. How cool is that?
One quick final thought…
I deliberated about this new job for some time. Working for a major company has benefits that a local business, honestly, can’t compare too. That was only a minor part of my debate. I had a wonderful supervisor with the company. He was a natural leader and had a way of coaching people which empowered them to succeed. I also worked with a great team. (That is a hard combo to find in the professional world.) I had to meet with my supervisor to turn in my gear. At this meeting I learned he took a new position and would no longer be my supervisor. It kind of took my breath away. God knew I was unhappy with the job conditions, not the people. Learning that the person I had the most contact with, who worked to make the position more appealing to me, was leaving…that was confirmation.
I prayed over this new job. I prayed to receive it. I pray to excel and propel growth in the position. I pray to have impact. My connect group and Pastors prayed for this job. God delivered it to me. It was not the way I expected – but it was delivered. I grew up with my Daddy talking about the job God gave him. I watched the loyalty my Daddy had with his company, not because of the company, because God delivered that job to him. Great things are in store in this next season, because God brought me here. After all, as Solomon states in Ecclesiastes…everything is worthless without God.