A time of opportunities
Autumn is a time of beauty and change from old to the new – and a time of opportunities!
Its beauty is in the colors of leaves and autumn skies, the cooler days and crisper nights after the hot days of summer. It’s the time to wear sweaters or sweatshirts and turn off the AC. I love autumn!
Its change is in the change of the season – from summer to fall, from green to a cascade of colors: brown, red, yellow, orange, and scarlet. Dark evergreens grow darker still, and bushed and shrubs change shades of green. Just so, we have opportunities to accept change.
Old is out, new is in
There is a chestnut tree in our backyard. This tree never drops its leaves until February or March. The only reason this chestnut oak drops its leaves is because there are new leaves pushing out. Those old leaves need to go before the new leaves can grow.
If our chestnut tree could talk, it would probably – as the leaves drop off its limbs – say something like “Things will never be the same!”
And they won’t be – because time keeps marching on. Changes come and changes go.
time does not stand still
When my kids were small, I had times when I thought, “I’m not ready for my baby to go to school . . .” or “how can he have grown so fast?” or “I wish they could just stay little” or “why doesn’t time just stand still?”
The truth is that if things always stayed the same, we’d be changing diapers or potty training forever. We’d be helping with math homework or teaching a kid to tie his shoes every day since TIME would STAND STILL. Would that really be fun?
Even though change can be hard, and we sometimes do wish we could rock that little one just one more time or repeat that grade with our favorite teacher . . . we can’t. Because time keeps moving, and the leaves keep dropping and the new leaves are pushing new growth.
Change happens and life continues. We must constantly adjust to the new – and release the old. There are two areas of change that are particularly hard. These two things are opportunities and relationships. Today, talk about Opportunities.
As we leave one stage of our life and enter a new one, our opportunities change. We get older, graduate, marry, move to a new location, change jobs, or become a parent, lose a spouse, develop health conditions, and retire – and what was once so familiar and routine may suddenly disappear or lose its significance. We may even grieve our loss of the familiar and struggle to accept the changes that seem thrust upon us.
So, we get to choose: either we embrace the change and allow the leaves to fall so new leaves can flourish, or we resist the change and fight the inevitable. In our opportunities, we need to remember that, though our responsibilities and opportunities change, our answer to the call to work for the Kingdom must never change. There is no retirement plan for the Christian.
Opportunities in faithful living
We are still called to be faithful, even when life throws us a curve. We are called to invest in the Kingdom, even when we are saddled with something that feels like prison.
Paul, the apostle, didn’t cower in his cell when he was in prison. He spent that time writing many letters of encouragement and admonition to churches he helped plant. He could have refused to participate in God’s plan – but instead he penned words that we still read today. These letters are the epistles in the New Testament. Had he bucked that prison sentence, think of what those churches in Ephesus, Philippi, and other places would have missed. Think about what we would be missing today! Did Paul know his letters would become a part of the New Testament? I think not. Was he faithful? Yes.
Choose to embrace your opportunities
This autumn, embrace the opportunities God gives you in Kingdom work. Embrace the opportunity to develop relationships that build up others and that build the Kingdom.
Choose to spend time investing in others as you latch on to opportunities. Focus on reaching out instead of staying in. Allow those leaves in your life to drop to the ground, and welcome the new leaves that God is pushing through.