The longer you live, the more you recognize that there are seasons to life, some that we pray will pass, and others that we hope will never end.
The Book of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 speaks seasons, “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; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”
The Lord is encouraging us, yes, encouraging us, by telling us in advance that there are, have been and will be seasons in life; and in those seasons there is work to be done in faith that will bring a harvest.
The apostle Paul writes, “Do not be deceived – God will not be mocked. For whatever a man sows, that he also will reap. For the one who sows to the flesh will reap corruption from the flesh. But the one who sows in the Spirit will reap from the Spirit eternal life. So let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not give up. Therefore, whenever we have an opportunity, let us do good towards all – especially those who belong to the household of faith” (Gal. 6:7-10).
It is often difficult to keep going when it seems that we are laboring in vain. Revealed within an agrarian society, the Word of God uses references that are not always immediately relatable to us today, certainly relatable at the time, but today we must give them a little more thought: sowing, tending, reaping, tearing up, etc.
When I used to garden, as anyone who had done will tell you, even a small garden is a tremendous amount of work; and after sowing, watering, and waiting, it can be discouraging to see nothing growing or coming to fruit.
I recall on one occasion, sowing two large beds of carrots. After having prepared the soil, and waiting weeks with no results, I was discouraged to say the least, as waiting for them to sprout caused me to miss the window to try to sneak in another planting.
I then decided it was time to turn the soil over, and plant something else. However, when I went out to do so, I noticed, in each of the rows were seed had been sown, the carrots had sprouted. That year we had an amazing harvest because, in due time, when the Lord intended, the seeds sprouted.
Paul directs us to not “grow weary.” The Greek for weary here is ἐκκακέω/ekkakeō, which is to be faint, or another way to be spiritless, or out of breath. Paul is perhaps thinking back to Exodus 6:9 when the children of Israel would not listen to Moses, “because of the shortness of spirit/breath/impatient (מִקֹּצֶר רוּחַ), from bondage.” They were weak, broken, and weary in spirit, they were weary of life, and a little impatient. Yet, we have been set free, so the remedy for this is not to be empty or “spiritless,” but rather, “Instead, be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18).
Everything that we do, is to be done, as Paul says, as “unto the Lord” (I Cor. 10:31). Therefore, if done “unto the Lord,” nothing that we do is ever wasted in His eyes. Perhaps one area we have invested in does not yield fruit, but He will bring forth other fruit in areas that we had not expected.
Sow to the Spirit, Paul writes, and reap everlasting life. It takes time, and patience, but the reward for faithfulness unto the Lord, never goes unnoticed or unanswered. Dear reader, keep fighting the good fight of faith, allow Him to mature you in patience, and in time the season of harvest will be at hand.
Be well. Shalom.