I am about to make a blanket statement intentionally. Here it is.
Whether you like it or not and no matter your vocation, we are like farmers.
I want to answer three questions in this blog. 1. Where do we get the idea that we are all farmers? 2. What do we mean that we are farmers? 3. How does this help my life?
Where do we get the idea that we are all farmers?
The idea comes from Ecclesiastes 3. After an intense introduction in the first two chapters, King Solomon pauses with a gentler but larger-than-life-nonetheless observation. Here it is:
1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Notice especially when he reflects:
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…
It’s in the notion of seasons where we get the idea that we are all like farmers.
What do we mean that we are farmers?
Yes, we are speaking metaphorically. Let’s think about two aspects a farmer is and liken it metaphorically to our lives.
- A farmer, more than anyone, understands what it means to flow with the rhythm of seasons. Each season has a purpose. Spring to anticipate new life and, therefore, to till and sow. Summer to grow and trust beyond your own power that the needed rains will come. Autumn to harvest, be grateful, and store for the winter. And winter to rest–both the farmer and the land. Similarly, we are the wiser when we accept that there are seasons in our lives. Our souls have their springs, summers, falls, and winters.
- A farmer respects the rhythm of seasons. A farmer cannot cheat the corresponding timing and weather of seasons. If the farmer fails to plant in the soft soil of spring, then he should not expect a harvest in fall. If the farmer fails to stir up the soil at the end of harvest, then the ground will be extra hardened in the next spring. Similarly, we are the wiser when we do what we need to do during each season. In the spirit of Ecclesiastes 3, God has appointed a purpose for each season in our lives. What wisdom are we to learn? What aspect of our character is to be matured? What new and healthy habits are we to build? What circumstance are we to accept, surrender, and trust God with? What are we still trying to control in our own strength and procure our self-salvation?
How does this help my life?
Simply put, understanding the spiritual dynamic of life seasons means one most gloriously practical thing:
In every season, trust God and obey what he would have you learn, mature in, and do. Going back to Ecclesiastes 3:1, when Solomon says, “a time for every matter,” he means an “appointed time.” He means to say that God is sovereign over the universe and every circumstance and in ultimate, net-good control. We are to trust that God is good through every season and that he is enough. That’s why relationship with the Triune God–Father, Son, Spirit–is so precious. Be it the springs, summers, falls, or winters of our souls, if we walk with God in personal relationship, then the very depths of our hearts will be at peace in a manner surpassing our circumstances. Then, like the patient farmer basking during harvest time, we will find ourselves curiously looking back and thanking God as we recognize how he truly worked his goodness into our lives through it all.