Old school “thank-you notes” aren’t used as much today; technology has created quicker and easier ways to show gratitude. Some Millennials (Born 1981-1996) and most Gen Z (Born 1997-2012), will find it quicker to just send “a meme” within their text messages. A meme is an image/photo/video with text (sometimes without) that shares a sentiment or cultural idea/feeling. Unfortunately, younger generations, (I won’t use the term whippersnapper because that will show my age) will eventually not know how it feels to receive a hand written “Thank You” note in the mail. These notes show that the writer took the time and put thought in preparing it; the receiver of the note feels that sincere appreciation of the effort and values the heart-felt words within it.
Today, I wrote an old school “thank-you note” to a pastor that gifted The Father’s Heart a church in our new location in Vestal. I want to share that note with you for two reasons: one, it shows what a blessing it is to be the recipient of this new church and two, it leads me into my blog that reflects on the reality of life……there’s a season and a time for everything.
Here’s the note:
May 11, 2023
Our Lord and Savior has witnessed your generosity……we see it as well! We see every hand that polished the wood trims, every hand that vacuumed, every skill that did repairs, every talent that decorated and every hour dedicated to make this church a haven.
We hear the sounds of worship, the voices that taught, the Board decisions made with care and every sermon that went out from the heart. The kind-heartedness shown and the gift passed on to a new group of worshipers, brings to mind Ecclesiastes 3, A Time for Everything. “To everything there is a season, a time to every purpose under the heaven…..a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted……”
Although this may be bittersweet for you, please know that God’s hand is at work. Thank you enormously!
Depending on your age, you might be familiar with the song written by Peter Seeger in 1959, Turn! Turn! Turn!" (also became known as "To Everything There Is a Season”) It was recorded and sung by The Byrds in 1965. The lyrics are based on the first eight verses of the third chapter of the Book of Ecclesiastes, written by King Solomon (Old Testament). Here’s the Bible passage below:
To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:
2 A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what 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(fn), And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; 6 A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; 7 A time to tear, 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.
( https://youtu.be/snZKnES4ng4 …take a moment to listen, you might recognize the song and memories might surface)
Despite the beautiful poetry of the words, there’s a sadness in the reality of what it says. Our lives are finite and just like the four seasons on the East Coast, one season must end before the other begins. One church and its congregation must close its doors before another can be established. But the beautiful thing to remember, as quoted by Alexander Graham Bell, “When one door closes, another opens.” For every seemingly bad thing that happens in our lives, God prepares a better way. Yes, life can be hard but it also can be awesome. It depends on what you focus on. Do you cry about the closed door or missed opportunities and doubt that things will get better or do you say, “I may not see what lies ahead, but I know God does and I trust Him!”
Change is hard for many people. Trusting God for something you cannot see is even harder. That’s why it requires faith…..for who hopes for something that they already can see or has? One of my favorite passages:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1, NKJV
You may have heard the term, “Doubting Thomas”? This is referring to the Biblical recorded event where Apostle Thomas told the other apostles that he would not believe that Jesus arose from the dead unless he touched Him himself. Jesus told Thomas to stop doubting and to believe. He said, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
The required faith that Jesus is asking us to embrace, is not always easy, especially while the devil is always trying to disrupt and discourage us. The ambiguity, the unknown, is a scary thought. That’s why Jesus (before His death) also remind the apostles when their boat was covered with waves during a violent sea storm by saying, “Why are you timid and afraid, O you of little faith?.......” (Matthew 8:26, Amplified Bible).
Therefore, although the poem in Ecclesiastes is bittersweet, the take away is to focus on the good things because the bad things will pass. The journey will eventually end so we are to take advantage of the time God gives. If you choose to focus on all the bad, regret and mourn a season that ends, and live only for the destination, then you will miss the journey and perhaps bypass what God has planned for you.
Through God’s Grace, Blessings, Love and Prayers,
*Footnote: “A time to cast away stones” in the above poem may refer to the fact that in ancient times, they commonly scattered stones on an enemy’s land to hinder farming.