a time to plant

In the words of Ecclesiastes, “To everything there is a season.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) In verse 2 of that chapter we are told that one of the seasons that has been established is “a time to plant”. We all know this, and most of us would willingly extol the virtue of being diligent, but our message and behavior are not always in sync.

Here’s why I say that-A time to plant suggests everything our culture is diametrically opposed to: patience, endurance, sacrifice and delayed gratification. We feel we have paid our dues and so now we “deserve” the good life. We want a perpetual season of harvesting without ever having to go through the rigors of the planting season again.

But that’s not the way it works. Ecclesiastes is clear, the seasons are cyclic, they come and they go. For sure we can build on the success of previous years, but we cannot rest upon that success perpetually. We have to do the work of preparing the ground and planting the seed over and over again. Proverbs 12:11 summarizes it this way: “Hard work means prosperity.”

The same is true spiritually speaking. If, in the words of 2 Kings 19 (verse 30 and 29, respectively), we are going to “take root, flourish and multiply” spiritually (e.g., become more Christ-like, develop and utilize our spiritual gifts, be a part of a growing ministry, etc.), we must be willing to diligently “plant crops and harvest them”. We cannot have the attitude that “I planted last year and the year before that as well, so this year I’ll skip the planting season and simply wait on harvest time.” Again, it is the book of Proverbs that says: “Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper and be satisfied.” (13:4)


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