September 21st is about three days away (depending on when you are reading this.) So ends summer and enters autumn. Or, more commonly called “Fall.” (Does anyone actually say: “Winter, spring, summer, autumn?”) Although I really hate to see summer end I fully embrace fall. Well, fully embracing might be strong but we are at least holding hands.
The change of seasons is one of the reasons I love living in New Jersey. (I, for one, would vote to have three seasons and ship winter up to Canada, where it belongs). All in all I really do enjoy the changes in weather and the beautiful visages, from the fall foliage to a fresh snowfall blanketing the lawns and trees. Each season holds it special times, wonderful holidays and activities specific to that particular time of year. They also have things I don’t enjoy like sweltering heat waves in the summer and cold, rainy days in spring. Every season has it’s positives and negatives, things I love and things that I don’t like all that much.
My wife Susan often refers to people experiencing different “seasons of life.” Like the seasons of nature, we pass through one season of life to another that hold both blessings and heartaches. Things we enjoy and things that burden and upset us. Unlike the seasons of nature, there are not starting and ending dates and the coming and gong of seasons are not so predictable Some seasons of life last longer than others and don’t necessarily progress sequentially. Sometimes, “winters” bookend a “summer” and last a lot longer than other seasons. People find themselves in a particular season of life at various and sometimes unplanned moments: unemployed, single, empty nesters, retired, college bound, newly married, overworked, under appreciated, financially blessed, etc.
Nobody knows how long a particular season of life will last or the challenges and obstacles that are part of a particular season. But the attitude with which we approach each season will determine how we effectively navigate the course we find ourselves on. The apostle Paul wrote:“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.” (Ephesians 5:15-16).
Making the most of every opportunity literally means to redeem the time. To redeem is to buy and Paul was referring to buying out completely that which was in the market place. His phrase to“make the most of every opportunity” is also translated “make the most of your time.” In this case, Paul is referring to a particular time, or a season. Paul is saying to us, as followers of Christ, to embrace the time or season we find ourselves in…to make the most of it…to buy it for all its worth. He encourages us to redeem the season of life we are going through, to take it for ourselves and to own it rather to be owned by it.
It is natural for people to want to escape the unpleasant seasons of life or change their circumstances. People who are sick want to get well, people who are unhappy want to find happiness. But it is not limited to those who are unhappy or ill. In each season of life people tend to pine for the blessings of other seasons, both seasons of the past and ones they imagine to be in store for them in the future. But in doing so we miss the opportunities of today; with our eye on the goal we can miss the lessons and blessings of the journey.
As the calendar flips to September 21, what season of life do you find yourself in? Are you redeeming the time, making the most of each opportunity, embracing the season?
What do you think?
How does it make you feel?