Fauquier Baptist Church
Saturday, September 23, 2023
     God tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, "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..."
     Growing up on the family farm in Anderson County, South Carolina, the job of plowing the fields usually was mine since I was the oldest. We had a late '30s John Deere model "A" tractor, on rubber that was started by physically turning the huge flywheel (No electric starter). After starting the engine and warming it up it had to be switched over to kerosene before the work commenced. That old 2- cylinder tractor would work all day without complaint but not always so regarding the operator, me.
     However as I think back over those precious years, there was a lesson in it all that I've come to realize. Every spring the same fields had to be turned, disked, planted and harvested. There was a cycle that had to be repeated. Being no more than a dozen years old you can bet that the job was a boring one. Round and round the fields we (the tractor and I) went pulling a turning plow that turned a narrow path every round. Seemed like it took forever! Same-o with the disking, the planting, and the harvesting. There was a repetitious cycle that had to be followed, no real shortcuts, just hard work and depending on the Lord to bless the outcome. " ...a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted."
     God tells us in chapter 1 of Ecclesiastes about some other cycles: "One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh, the sun also riseth and goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he came, the wind whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits, the rivers run to the sea, and the sea is not full, unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. The thing that hath been,it is that which shall be and that which is done is that which shall be done and there is no new thing under the sun."
     I've never forgotten my roots in farming and in old tractor, trucks, etc. Presently, at my home, we have a Model "B" John Deere (1947 2-cylinder, with a starter!) about finished with restoration. Every time I take a few hours to work on it I'm reminded of the times back on the farm and the lessons learned about the repetitions of life. Speaking of repetition, some have said that life is a series of repetitions or habits: Coffee every morning, the daily newspaper, breakfast, dinner, supper; to work and back home week after week to make money (those bills every month). Repetition! Week after week, year after year. But at some point life ends. The one thing that happens to all men will happen to you and to me, "A time to die."
     Life itself, the time between one's birth and death (lifetime on earth), happens only once per person. No more and no less. Some, however, go about life as if they will live on earth forever. The other day, I asked an elderly man if he'd given any thought to where he would reside in eternity, either Hell or Heaven. His answer was, "No, I've never given it any thought." I asked this man if he would like to know what God had to say about eternity? How he could be saved? He said, "No, I'm not planning to die anytime soon." The wise man, Solomon, said in Ecclesiastes 2:15, "...As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth to me..."
     There is a vast difference between a planning and a happening! "A time to be born ..." We didn't have anything to do with our birth. Who our parents were, where we were born, our race or nationality...we had no say in it. That was God's business. By the same token, it's God business when our time comes to depart this short life. where we depart to, after this life is over, speaking of eternity, is each person's individual choice. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." The fact is, "The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." During the cycle of one's life to see Heaven one must deal with Jesus and receive Him as Saviour. (Romans 10:13). Not to , is never to see Heaven. 
     We don't like to talk about death but it's coming. God knows how we will die, He also knows which year, which month, which day, the hour, the minute, down to the every second, "...and a time to die."
     Meanwhile, I'll trust God and try to be faithful and keep working on that old '47 John Deere. I can't take it with me but maybe God will let me enjoy it while I'm here! When it's running it makes one of the best sounds on earth! In my opinion! God is GOOD.