ECCLESIASTES 3:1 – There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven. 2. A time 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 tear down and a time to build; 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.
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.
Poor Humpty Dumpty! Some people relate and feel broken, like Humpty Dumpty; if you do, I pray that this simple message as we continue our Lenten journey will help.
There is always a balance in life, in our earth, and in the universe. Everything in the universe, everything in the world, everything in our lives, responds to a balance that is always there with us, around us, and everywhere present. When we examine God’s balance of life, we begin to see that there’s a time for doing outer things, BUT there is also that time of rest and renewal in prayer.
The writer of Ecclesiastes said it this way: “For everything there is a season; a time for every purpose under heaven.” We recognize that everything responds to that rhythm and balance. What we want to do is become an orderly part of that flow. It is very easy to see this balance taking place, right now, isn’t it? Now is the time when the leaves begin to blossom on the trees. There is that time when the leaves begin to burst forth and everything looks glorious around us. The spring brings a desire in us to spring forth in new life, new energy, towards new God-given good. As it springs forth in the spring, it comes to that full bloom and maturity of summer. Then the balance begins again and everything moves toward a time of rest.
There is a time for growth and there is a time for rest. You see the leaves fall and replenishing the earth. Then, we see everywhere other evidence of this balance. There is the day and then there is the night. There is the ebb and the flow of things. Even in our body, we breathe in and then we breathe out. We are always one with God’s balance-the breathing in and the breathing out; the ebb and the flow.
Within the cells of our bodies, there is a balance of God. There is a breaking down and a building up. This is referred to by the fancy titles of anabolism and catabolism, which make up metabolism. Our bodies tune into that rhythm of the universe. What we really need to know is that there is this time for the giving out and the taking in-getting in tune with the balance of the universe. This last weekend some of us saw a little unbalance for a short period of time due to the time change in the United States. But we will adjust within a few days and move forward again.
All the animals of the world seem to have an attunement to God’s balance. They all have this time when they are so active (they’re running around, doing their things, and being very busy), and then, all of a sudden, they just plop down and do nothing. What are they doing? They are not doing “nothing.” They’re renewing strength and energy. They really understand that there has to be a time of giving out and a time of taking in; a time of activity and a time of rest and renewal.
We humans often do not do that. We tend to give out and keep doing, and keep doing, and keep doing, and keep on keeping on. We do not really realize that we are stretching ourselves too far. We often are doing too much.
We are not taking time to renew ourselves, to go into that quiet time of prayer and rest. When we do not take this time, what happens? We end up tired, fatigued and filled with stress. We all end up with a little bit of burn-out in varying degrees, because we have not learned to relax and to renew ourselves.
Think of – Humpty Dumpty. Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty took a great fall. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.
Why was that? Because when he was sitting, he had that outer exterior that was hard, and when he fell, he splattered all over the place. That is like us. We build up that hard exterior, perhaps a hard shell of self-protection and then when we fall, we just splatter all over the place. So, what we really need to do is to be more like a rubber ball. The ball is resilient. The ball does not have that hard exterior. And when you throw it against the wall, it bounces back. It is flexible. It has all kinds of resilience within it. If we take time of rest and prayer, totally turning ourselves over to God, we can become like that ball. All that stress that creates the hard outer exterior becomes soft and resilient. You have seen people who look like they are ready to break apart from the demands and stress of their life. Maybe that has even been you as you look in a mirror. After a vacation or a relaxing, prayerful weekend, that person (you?) looks ten years younger.
There was a man who was blind. He had absolutely the most unique ability to do things very busily, and then, to relax. He would always relax easily. Have you ever noticed a person with normal vision, who, all of a sudden, goes into the dark? What do they do? They reach out and their fingers are all stiff because they are full of fear that they will hit something. But the blind man never did. He always walked around with his fingers very relaxed. He was very centered. Thus, he was able to be aware of everything around him. He never broke anything. He never fell and splattered like Humpty Dumpty.
We need to do that. If we do not do that, what happens to us? We become too tense. We allow the stresses and the problems of the world to press in upon us, and we hold onto things. We can always be so busy; with too much to do. So many of the old messages come through like, “Well, you can’t sit down now. You have got to keep going. You have got to keep doing.
There’s more to be done.” When we were kids they always told us, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” That was kind of strange, thing to tell a kid who likes to sit under a tree and read, renew, and rest. But that little message, or that type of message, goes off in our heads, and we find ourselves keeping extra busy as adults to prove our worth.
If we are honest with ourselves, we would often find ourselves over-extending and over-doing. Sometimes we have so much to do that we really cannot sit down and just relax and renew. The problem is that if we do not take time to relax, to renew, to become more resilient, and to find those times of quiet when we can become centered, spiritually, we become tense; so tense and so uptight that we actually become our own block to the flow of God . When we are so tense, when we are so busy and not renewing, then we begin to suffer on many levels.
There is often a lack of balance among our use of the God-given gifts of life. When we do not exercise a balance between the taking in and the giving out, we over-accumulate and we become burdened, heavy, tense, and overwhelmed, because we have not released, let go, given up, and given out that which we have taken in. We need to learn to strike a balance between these.
I love the story of the sculptor who decided he was going to sculpt a statue of Jesus Christ out of clay. When he went into his studio, he prepared this great and majestic figure of Jesus Christ standing with all His majesty, with His arms upheld, reaching out to the world.
He went away from his studio that night, and the mist from the sea came into the studio and affected the statue. In the morning, when the sculptor returned, the whole statue had slipped down. Now Jesus looked more in a sitting down position. There were the lowered arms outstretched saying, “Come unto me and I will give you rest.”
So the wonders of the night had worked and taken the statue and made it into the compassionate, loving personality that Jesus Christ was and is.
Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV) 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Jesus Christ knew the importance of going apart for a while, of finding a time for rest and renewal, of entering into the one Presence with God. Then He could begin to do what needed to be done by Him at all times.
So, to repeat this very important message: Matthew 11: 28 – 30: Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn. My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Ask God for help in obtaining deep spiritual rest. Go to God, and God will give you rest.
We must develop new habits of living so we can tune ourselves into God’s One Presence and Power.
In closing let me just add one little idea for you – Theologians say that no one ever remembers Sunday talks. Soooo, with that in mind, I have reduced this message into six letters from our alphabet, an exercise I learned from another pastor. You can use it and say it like a relaxing thought as you prepare for prayer:
LG-LG! – Let Go – Let God.
TG – Think God!
R – Relax!
M – Move!
Seek God’s guidance first, then MOVE – after true spiritual rest and renewal YOU WILL BE READY to do the great things of life, undertake the great projects, becoming a light unto your world! You will be so balanced on that beam that God’s work will be moving and shaking through you with that Holy Power we all want to exhibit.
God bless you!