November has arrived, and in our part of the world that means the season has already begun to shift from summer to fall. Trees are beginning to lose their leaves, as they lazily making their dissent from their lofty perch high above.
Yesterday, as I took a walk in the autumn afternoon, there was a moment where the sunlight broke through the trees, and the wind picked up, loosening a hundred leaves from branches. As they fell, they glistened and flickered in the sunlight, finally coming to rest beneath my feet. It was so beautiful. I clicked my eyelids together in hopes to capture the memory forever, but sometimes moments like these are soon forgotten.
As the days begin to get cool, and the daylight hours are less, I find it easy to grumble and complain. That term “fair weather friend” comes to mind and as I sit here thinking about this, I find myself convicted by the Holy Spirit. There is a big part of my convenience driven soul that wants to fast forward through the harshness of the winter months, so that I can keep moving at the same pace I enjoy during the summer. However, there is something so magnificent about the changing of the seasons, and there are important allegorical lessons to be learned from them.
The Bible is full of stories about agriculture. I have often wondered why Yeshua chose farming as His example when referring to the Kingdom. I know now, that more often than not, He was ministering to working class people of that day when He used examples like farming—something easy for them to comprehend. However, in the fast-paced, high-tech world that we live in now, some might find it difficult to relate to parables about reaping and sowing.
Planting Seeds And Reaping A Harvest
A few years back I had the opportunity to spend some time on a small farm. It was fascinating to watch the farmer as he prepared seedlings during those long winter days, planting trays and trays of tiny seeds in individual cups, and then placing them beneath a heat lamp soon after. As the winter stretched on, tiny fragile plants began to shoot up through the dirt and soon a bean or tomato plant was happily extending two small leaves into the air. Soon after, the ground began to thaw, and signs of green began to stir beneath the early-melting snow outside….
Sometime in late March or April the farmer would lovingly transfer these well cared for sprouts into the ground outside. I remember feeling frustrated that he had not chosen to wait until they were larger to do so, but he assured me this for the best, explaining that the harshness of wind and weather would allow these plants to grow strong enough to bare the weight of a crop come harvest time. I was skeptical to say the least.
Then spring would arrive, and with it came rain—lots and lots of rain. I would find the farmer out in the field dressed head to toe in rain gear, boots slowly sinking into the soft earth beneath his feet. Even in the storms there was much work to be done, and as I kneeled drenched and muddy, pulling weeds or fertilizing plants, I remember longing for the hot summer days ahead. However, when the sun finally did take it’s place in the sky I was not prepared for the blistering heat, or the exhaustion that comes from working beneath it for days on end.
Then the harvest season arrived, and with it much rejoicing. People from all over the county would come to purchase produce. Bags and bags and bags were filled with beans, okra, tomatoes, strawberries, and much more! It was so exciting to see the fruit of our labor, and to share it with family and friends. Fall was just around the corner, and as we prepared for winter, cans and cans of preserves began to fill barren pantry shelves.
Finally, it was time to slow down a bit, to take inventory of ALL that had taken place—evaluating what methods worked, and which ones didn’t. It was time to enjoy wonderful home cooked meals, and to give thanks for a bountiful harvest.
As we prepare to enter these winter months, I challenge you to follow the farmer’s example. Take some time to enjoy time with family and friends. Set aside extra-special times with the Lord just to thank Him for His faithfulness. Let Him help you evaluate what went well this last year and ways you can improve. There will be much work to be done soon enough, so take this time to regain your strength and prepare yourself for the Kingdom work ahead of each one of us during this upcoming spiritual season of planting and harvesting.