By Ed Jordan
The air is cooling, and the sights and aromas of autumn are bursting into our senses. Autumn is one of my favorite seasons of life. There is a crispness to the air, and both the sights, and the aromas, of the woods change from green to brown.
Yes, I think there really is an aroma associated with the leaves turning yellow, then orange or red, and finally to brown as the leaves then drift silently to the ground. The woods smell one way when everything is green, and distinctly different when the leaves are changing their status of life.
As we are aware, there are generally four seasons in nature. Depending upon where you live, these seasons are either more, or less, distinct and accentuated. One of the characteristics of nature’s four seasons is that they are cyclic. Once one departs, it will eventually reoccur.
Summer comes and goes, to be replaced by autumn, which is later replaced by winter. When winter transitions to spring, the environs burst forth with the new life, and then the cycle is repeated again and again.
Thus seasonal changes of the weather patterns of nature have become comforting markers in our lives; markers which give us a context in which to interpret and quantify our life experiences, all the while subconsciously affirming to us that there is a system and order to life.
We are not only “okay” with these seasons, these markers of transition and change, most of us are actually “good” with having seasons. They bring some predictability.
We read in Ecclesiastes 3:1–2 (NRSV): “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted.”
There is a time to plant, and a time to harvest, a time for preparation for a new season of life and growth, a time to grow and produce fruit, and a time for experiencing the fruit of the labor. Do not these same principles apply to our own lives?
Each of us also experience these four seasons in our lifetime. We are nurtured in our mother’s womb, and at the proper time we burst out of the womb as new life, filled with amazing vitality and possibilities. We grow during our earlier years, and at some point arrive at the beginning of a stage of life when there is enough maturity to begin producing fruit through our lives.
At some point the seasons shift and our lives move from summer into autumn. At some point each of us will experience the season of death, when what we have known in this body will make transition. As we read: “There is a time to be born and a time to die.”
This series of seasons only occurs once in our lifetime in this natural body. In the linear view of life, we each only live the season of spring, summer, autumn and winter once. One season of preparation, one of production, one of harvest, and one of death and transition to a new kind of life.
What we have planted and invested during our lifetime will produce a harvest, although we might not personally see the fruit that comes from our lives until we come out the season of death and emerge into enteral spring in the presence of God.
However, in our plans and activities we should experience winter, spring, summer, and autumn each and every year, month, and day. We should continually be planting seeds that will produce life, grow, and bear fruit in our lives and the lives of others.
Whenever we plan a project, it should include the seasons of preparation for birth or launch time, the actual launch of the project, the growth and implementation, and then a time for the fruit and harvest which gives the seeds of new projects and productivity and fruit.
While I am daily active in sowing new seeds of potential life and harvests through multiple activities and ministries, I am continually reflecting upon where I currently am in the seasons of my life, I assess where I am, where I need to be going, and how to best invest what remains of my life under the sun.
Where are you in the seasons of your life? What still needs to be done? What things should be your priorities in order to do what God is calling you to do? There is a time for every season under heaven. What time is it in your life?