Prepare for each season and the future
September 21, 2011 - Here in Michigan, we are beginning to see the first signs of autumn.
As I look out my window, I notice that yellow, brown and red are replacing the green color that predominated throughout the summer season.
I love green. It seems refreshing to me when I see green everywhere.
As the fall season begins, my first thought is "Oh no, I'm losing my green world!" My next thought is to think about the white snow cover that will become the dominant color during Michigan's winter.
For this reason, I am not fond of the fall—even though I hear people talk about the beauty of the fall colors.
My thought is, "Do you realize that means winter is coming?"
I am not a fan of winter. In the past, people have said, "You need to find a winter activity that you like." In time, I did—I began taking winter vacations to Florida and Mexico. These trips certainly made winter more tolerable for me.
One day, Jesus Christ was speaking with His disciples. They were inquiring about the signs of the last days and His return to restore His Kingdom.
He said to them, "Remember the parable of the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near."
In other words, each season is unique within itself, but it also speaks of what is going to come after it. If we are watching for seasonal signs, seasons should not take us by surprise.
The scripture also declares, "For everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under the heavens."
We need to know the season that we are in. Although we live our lives according to the season, we must also recognize that it is time to prepare for the next season.
Our country is in a severe economic distress. It took most people by surprise, even though there were many signs of the impending crisis.
Unfortunately, we do not like to live thinking about tomorrow, so we simply choose to live only for today. The scripture tells us that God has made everything beautiful in its time, but it also qualifies that with the statement, "Also He has put eternity in our hearts."
We should not just be a people of the moment; God wants us mindful of eternity. This means that we should always think about and prepare for what is to come.
A good friend of mine, who traveled the whole world, once asked me a probing question. Why do you think the countries with weather similar to Michigan are the most prosperous?
This question is based on a true observation. The industrial and economic wealth of Europe is based in the north, and the same has typically been true in the United States. Throughout the world, tropical countries tend to be poorer than ones in temperate weather zones. My friend's observation was that changing seasons trained people to think long-term.
One must prepare for each season, knowing that they will only last for a while and you must be ready for the next. Technology is changing the observation of weather and human behavior, but the principle is very real and to the point.
We cannot just live for "today." We must be a people with a long-term plan. From a farmer's perspective, this means: never use all your seed for food, because you must be prepared for what is to come.
Western society, the United States included, has forsaken long-term planning for short-term comfort.
The idea of suffering, or enduring loss, today for tomorrow's gain has lost favor with people who demand satisfaction now.
We are already suffering the consequences of that behavior. Will someone arise on the scene who will rally us to live properly, or will we respond to a demagogue who will tell us what we want to hear?
Someone who will point the finger of blame and offer easy answers, or will we return to those principles that made us great and gave us immense blessing in the past.
We cannot solve our modern world with yesterday's understanding, but we can solve today's problems with the enduring principles that have a proven track record.
For me, that proven track record is the Word of God that endures from generation to generation and still produces good fruit.
The Rev. Loren Covarrubias is pastor of Mt. Zion Church.