IVP - Online Pulpit - Fall Reminders for Ministry

October 15, 2006

Fall Reminders for Ministry

Things we now applaud, we later lament.

The beautiful autumn leaves never cease to amaze me. For more than forty years I have witnessed the fall colors, and each year they cause me to stop and stare, to breathe more deeply, to wonder at the creativity of God. Yet … a few days later and I am mumbling and murmuring about all those leaves on the ground. (Not as much as my husband, though. He already has had the rake out two different times for several hours at a time.) Appreciation of the fall colors soon turns to the dismay of raking leaves. And that’s not all. In a couple of months I will be looking with disgust at those same trees. Their gangly, gnarled branches exposed to the world, dark and dormant, look dead. Will they ever come to life again? In the midst of winter, I have my doubts.

So too it is with our life of faith. We sing and rejoice because of the colors God puts in our lives—our children, our health, our home, our church family. Yet these same things often are the source of dismay. Our children disappoint us. Our health deteriorates and even threatens to undo us. Our homes become burdens too difficult to bear. Our church family, like all families, can be gangly and gnarled, feeling dark and lifeless.

Creation’s changing seasons teach us about the seasons of life. God is faithful in both. Sometimes when I have been too busy to notice (my head is “buried” in ministry), I am surprised when I see leaves on a tree that was dead only yesterday. Utterly amazing, those dormant, dead-looking trees slowly but surely begin to sprout new, springtime buds. Dead trees do come to life—every year! No matter how long and cold the winter, spring brings new life. Greenery and flowers burst forth everywhere; the birds sing of their return. God is faithful in nature and life.

The difficult times we face, whether from circumstances beyond our control or the darkness of our own hearts, do not have to last forever. God is able to breath new life into us just as he breathes new life into nature. John 15 uses this analogy: the Father is the vinegrower, Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches. The Father tends our lives, making sure we are connected to and nurtured by Christ. If we abide in Christ we will bear fruit—spring will come. John says that apart from Christ we can do nothing—nothing that will survive the seasons of life. Through regular worship, Scripture study, fellowship and giving of our time and talents in service, we are pruned and fed so that spring will always come.

Enjoy the colors. Rake the leaves. Meditate on John 15:1-11. God is faithful. What we applaud and lament, we will applaud again!

Posted by Candie Blankman at October 15, 2006 8:59 AM Bookmark and Share

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