Change Is a Part of Life

The Truth About Change  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  29:01
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Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Today we start a new series, entitled, The Truth about Change.
Change is one of the constants of life.
Seasons change
People change
Governments change
Animals change
etc.
Many are resistant to any change.
We do things this way, we have always done things this way, this is the way we will always do things!
I heard of a doctor who had to confront his patient about his habits:
"You," said the doctor to the patient, "are in terrible shape. You've got to do something about it. First, tell your wife to cook more nutritious meals. Stop working like a dog. Also, inform your wife you're going to make a budget, and she has to stick to it. And have her keep the kids off your back so you can relax. Unless there are some changes like that in your life, you'll probably be dead in a month."
"Doc," the patient said, "this would sound more official coming from you. Could you please call my wife and give her those instructions?"
When the fellow got home, his wife rushed to him. "I talked to your doctor," she wailed. "Poor man, you've only got thirty days to live."
Some changes are positive changes
promotion at work
first warm day after a long winter
your team finally doing better and heading toward the playoffs. ( I can’t really speak personally to this lately)
Other changes are painful or negative
loss of a marriage
getting let go from your job
an accident
loss of a loved one
All of these experiences can bring various emotions happiness, sadness, joy or even fear.
During some periods of our life we wish that things could just stay as they were forever.
When we were first married, I just wanted things to stay the way they were…just me and my wife against the world.
Of course I would never wish that now, that I have my four children, or even after my first.
I know Pastor Reece preached for a year, warning all of you that change was coming when you got a new pastor!
He warned you against saying things like, we’ve never done it that way before.
I recently heard about someone asking why the U.S. Standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is four feet, eight and one half inches.
Why such an odd number? Because that's the way they built them in England, and American railroads were built by British expatriates.
Why did the English adopt that particular gauge? Because the people who built the pre-railroad tramways used that gauge.
They in turn were locked into that gauge because the people who built tramways used the same standards and tools they had used for building wagons, which were set on a gauge of four feet, eight-and-one-half inches.
"Why were wagons built to that scale? Because with any other size, the wheels did not match the old wheel ruts on the roads.
"So who built these old rutted roads?
"The first long-distance highways in Europe were built by Imperial Rome for the benefit of their legions. The roads have been in use ever since. The ruts were first made by Roman war chariots. Four feet, eight-and-one-half inches was the width a chariot needed to be to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses."
Maybe "that's the way it's always been" isn't the great excuse some people believe it to be.
At other times, we cannot wait for things to change.
When they baby is keeping you awake all night.
When the grief has just set in
When the job becomes monotonous
When the Preacher has just begun his sermon
Some welcome change and innovation, while others fear it greatly!
On June 4, 1783 at the market square of a French village of Annonay, not far from Paris, a smoky bonfire on a raised platform was fed by wet straw and old wool rages. Tethered above, straining its lines, was a huge taffeta bag 33 feet in diameter. In the presence of "a respectable assembly and a great many other people," and accompanied by great cheering, the balloon was cut from its moorings and set free to rise majestically into the noon sky. Six thousand feet into the air it went -- the first public ascent of a balloon, the first step in the history of human flight. It came to earth several miles away in a field, where it was promptly attacked by pitchfork-waving peasants and torn to pieces as an instrument of evil!On June 4, 1783 at the market square of a French village of Annonay, not far from Paris, a smoky bonfire on a raised platform was fed by wet straw and old wool rages. Tethered above, straining its lines, was a huge taffeta bag 33 feet in diameter. In the presence of "a respectable assembly and a great many other people," and accompanied by great cheering, the balloon was cut from its moorings and set free to rise majestically into the noon sky. Six thousand feet into the air it went -- the first public ascent of a balloon, the first step in the history of human flight. It came to earth several miles away in a field, where it was promptly attacked by pitchfork-waving peasants and torn to pieces as an instrument of evil!
When the railroads were first introduced to the U.S., some folks feared that they'd be the downfall of the nation! Here's an excerpt from a letter to then President Jackson dated January 31, 1829:
As you may know, Mr. President, 'railroad' carriages are pulled at the enormous speed of 15 miles per hour by 'engines' which, in addition to endangering life and limb of passengers, roar and snort their way through the countryside, setting fire to crops, scaring the livestock and frightening women and children. The Almighty certainly never intended that people should travel at such breakneck speed. Martin Van Buren Governor of New York
Change happens.
And yet there are many that are just resistant to change.
Often we look back at times, and wish they could be the way they were before.
When your children become teenagers
When your teenagers move out of the house
When you have lost a loved one.
The writer of Ecclesiastes knew the change is a part of life.
He states in Ecclesiastes 3:1
1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
He then goes on to state different seasons in life:
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;
He goes on describing war, construction, mourning, celebration and many other aspects of life.
In Ecclesiastes we see some principles regarding change that we need to remember:

I. Change Will Happen

The only thing that does not change is God!
Malachi 3:6 KJV
6 For I am the Lord, I change not; Therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
For the rest of us, we will see change throughout our lives.
1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A. Accept the Change

There is no point in fighting change.
Sure if evil begins to conquer in an area of our lives, we must stand for right…but speaking of the changes in our lives...
Those who fight the change suffer the most.
The devil would love nothing more than for God’s children to be side tracked by fighting the changes that happen in their lives rather than being focused sharing the gospel.
The truth is change is going to come, whether we accept it or not!
So we might as well accept the change, and see what God is going to do through it.
It is hard to believe now, but the potato was once a highly unpopular food. When first introduced into England by Sir Walter Raleigh, newspapers printed editorials against it, ministers preached sermons against it, and the general public wouldn't touch it. It was supposed to sterilize the soil in which it had been planted and cause all manner of strange illnesses--even death.
There were, however, a few brave men who did not believe all the propaganda being shouted against it. It was seen as an answer to famine among the poorer classes and as a healthful and beneficial food. Still, these few noblemen in England could not persuade their tenants to cultivate the potato. It was years before all the adverse publicity was overcome and the potato became popular.
A Frenchman named Parmentier took a different tack. He had been a prisoner of war in England when he first heard of the new plant. His fellow prisoners protested the outrage of having to eat potatoes. Parmentier, instead, thoughtfully inquired about the methods of cultivating and cooking the new food. Upon his return to France, he procured an experimental farm from the Emperor, in which he planted potatoes. When it was time to dig them, at his own expense, he hired a few soldiers to patrol all sides of his famous potato patch during the daytime. Meanwhile he conducted distinguished guests through the fields, digging a few tubers here and there, which they devoured with evident relish. At night, he began to withdraw the guards. A few days later one of the guards hastened to Parmentier with the sad news that peasants had broken into the potato patch at night, and dug up most of the crop.
Parmentier was overjoyed, much to the surprise of his informant, and exclaimed, "When the people will steal in order to procure potatoes, their popularity is assured."
The acceptance of change helped stave off the starvation of the poor.
It is best just to realize change is going to happen, it is best if you just accept it...Because..

B. Each Change has a Purpose

Here in verse one we are told, To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.
God has a purpose in allowing every change that comes into our lives.
This is not a glib, or trite statement.
This is reality
Do we understand every purpose?
Of course not!
But the Lord has a purpose.
James 1:17 tells us
James 1:17 KJV
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
Did you know that it was not until 1850 that our world reached the one billion mark? By 1930 we reached two billion. It took only thirty more years for the world's population to reach three billion. We have now arrived at five billion. Statisticians tell us that by the end of the twentieth century we'll have seven billion...
Until 1800 the top speed was twenty miles an hour as people traveled on horseback. With the arrival of the railroad train, almost overnight we jumped to 100 miles per hour. By 1952 the first passenger jet could travel 500 miles an hour. By 1979 the Concorde cruised at more than 1,200 miles an hour. But even back in 1961 the astronauts were orbiting the earth at 16,000 miles per hour.
Change comes quick, and every change that God allows in this world has a purpose.
So often the changes that come into our lives, when all is said in done are some of the greatest gifts that God gives to us.
Oh, I’m not talking about a death of a loved one…although I know we can trust in God during these times.
But many things that happen in our lives, that we would fight against, end up being a gift from God.
Multiple times in my life God has brought a change that I did not want...
Moving away from friends and family, leaving a church, loss of a relationship…but looking back, I see how God has protected me, and helped me toward better things.
I remember being crushed by a broken relationship, only to see years later that God protected me.
When God closed the door in California, I could never imagine the peace and happiness that we have found here in Michigan.
Look a little lower in the chapter, at verses 10-11.
10 I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.
11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.
God knows how to turn the pain of change into something beautiful!
Something beautiful, something good All my confusion He understood All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife But he made something beautiful of my life
If there ever were dreams That were lofty and noble They were my dreams at the start And hope for life's best were the hopes That I harbor down deep in my heart But my dreams turned to ashes And my castles all crumbled, my fortune turned to loss So I wrapped it all in the rags of life And laid it at the cross
We just need to trust in the Lord and in His promises!
Isaiah 43:19 KJV
19 Behold, I will do a new thing; Now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, And rivers in the desert.
Trust in Him! Not in your own understanding!
Proverbs 3:5–6 KJV
5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; And lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, And he shall direct thy paths.
Which leads me to the next point...

II. Choose to Trust

Every day that we have is a gift from God.
Old Testament scholar J. Stafford Wright wrote, “Man is to take his life day by day from the hand of God, realizing that God has fitting time for each thing to be done.”
the Writer of Ecclesiastes says in the previous chapter
Ecclesiastes 2:24–26
24 There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.
25 For who can eat, or who else can hasten hereunto, more than I?
26 For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit.
He says later in chapter 3
Ecclesiastes 3:12-13
12 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.
13 And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.
No matter what changes may come, knowing that God has it under His control we can choose to trust in His unchanging hand!
And we can...

A. Keep on Working

the Evangelist, the writer of Ecclesiastes tells us twice, once in chapter 2, and once in chapter 3, that man is to enjoy the good of all his labour.
We keep doing that which we know is right!
If the world falls down around us, we are going to keep doing what we know is right.
One of the biggest struggles we have faced as a nation in the last decade is because too many stopped working when things seemed to fall apart around us.
I’m not going to get into a political discussion… I am just saying we saw what happens when everyone stops.
When changes come, stay busy doing what you know is right, keep working for the Lord.
Why is it that people tend to stop working for the Lord when changes come?
Oh they don’t stop working in their job because they want to eat.
But God’s work is usually the first to go!
They stop attending faithfully.
They stop serving.
Keep on Working, and just trust God!
But also

B. Keep Enjoying Life

That is the other aspects of life.
Just after all these changing situations that are mentioned in chapter 3, a time to be born, a time to die…etc....
The Evangelist tells us…that God turns everything beautiful in his time…then he tells us just keep rejoicing and doing good in verse 12,
and in verse 13 he continues his thought saying that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.
We sometimes get so wrapped up, and focused on the things that are changing, that we miss the blessings that God is giving us in other areas of our life.
A man from the back mountains of Tennessee found himself one day in a large city, for the first time standing outside an elevator. He watched as an old, haggard woman hobbled on, and the doors closed. A few minutes later the doors opened and a young, attractive woman marched smartly off. The father hollered to his youngest son, "Billy, go get mother."

Conclusion

Change is a part of life.
We can do nothing about it, so we might as well accept it.
Just as the seasons around us are changing, so life changes.
With Fall comes the beauty of Autumn all around us.
The cozy sweaters, the relaxing campfires, the warm drinks.
When the season changes to winter, new opportunities will arise.
A warm fire, now moved indoors.
Sledding
Beautiful white tapestry of snow
A nice warm bed, on a cold night (there is nothing better).
When the season changes again, and we feel the first ray of warmth of spring, we see new life blooming all around us.
Then summer brings all sorts of activity, swimming, camp, vacations, etc.
Each season of the year has it’s benefits, just as each season has it’s downsides.
Such is the case with life.
Will you focus on the negatives, or will you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and focus on the life that change can bring.
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