As I walk outside these days, I marvel in the (sometimes) cooler temperatures and the beauty around us. If you have a garden, it is likely better kept than ours, but perhaps yours is also a mixture of color and life and browning foliage.
The zinnias still provide pops of joyous color and the marigolds still have a few golden yellow and bright orange buds. But the sunflowers which once stood tall and radiant yellow are now beginning to droop and lose their final petals. There are still a handful of tomatoes that are slowly ripening and the basil is abundant. However, the squash and zucchini have folded and the cucumbers have only a few yellowed fruits lingering. And, that overgrown bed of bolted greens that is yet to be weeded… You get the picture.
As I see this mix of color and life and the browning of what has past, I am reminded of Ecclesiastes 3. I am reminded that “there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven.” It even mentions “a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted.”
Part of me wishes this tomato and basil season would continue, even just a little longer. I think about other seasons in our lives too, seasons we wish we could linger in a little longer.
As I see the browning leaves, the garden beds are telling me a new season is coming. They remind me of the weeding that needs to happen in our yard, but also of the plucking up that needs to happen in our lives.
I cannot help but see this mixture of color and browning foliage and think about my own life, my own need to prayerfully discern where God is calling in each season. I am reminded that not everything can fit in that garden bed and not everything can grow at once. There is a time and a season for each plant, a time and a season for each fruit.
While it feels that sometimes our world wants to tell us that we can, indeed, fit everything in if we just have the right stuff or the right attitude, I’m reminded that not everything can fit. In our world where it feels like there are endless choices and options, I am reminded that there is a time to plant and a time to pluck up. I am reminded that we are a people called to follow and called to turn to God in each day and in each season.
As new Sunday School classes started yesterday and as many groups will begin again this week and in the weeks to come, we have the opportunity to reflect. Where is God calling you? What is God calling us to plant – perhaps through involvement in a new opportunity to serve or learn? And, is God calling us to pluck up anything? Beyond the weeds in our gardens, perhaps the weeds in our lives – those things that perhaps don’t need as much attention as we put in. Or, those things that aren’t bearing fruit. At this changing of seasons, I invite us to pray and discern where God is calling us and how God is calling us to live in each day.
“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;
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 throw away stones and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek and a time to lose;
a time to keep and a time to throw away;
a time to tear and a time to sew;
a time to keep silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.”