In our previous Wisdom Note, we continued our series called The Cycles and Seasons of Life, The Growth of Summer. This week we continue with moving onto the celebration of fall. If you miss any of our Wisdom Notes please go to the blog to read past newsletters.
With each season of life, our focus and priorities will change. We need to be flexible and willing to make those changes. Life rarely turns out how we expected and is based on the accumulation of all the decisions we have made in our lives up until now. The key to living a rich and satisfying life is to make wise decisions and then choose to enjoy life even if it is different than we expected.
What you plant in the spring season of life and then nurture during the summer season of life is what you will harvest in the fall season of life. So plant and nurture wisely, so your harvest will be fruitful and in abundance. Realize also that during your lifetime, there will be many different cycles of seasons. Just because a particular season did not turn out as you expected, don’t let that control the entirety of your life. Each winter season is a time for reflection and planning while each new spring season gives you an opportunity to start new again.
This brings us to our trek for this week as we consider moving from summer to fall within the cycles and seasons of life. This section of our trek is titled…
The Celebration of Fall
I would like to start off our trek this week with a quote from Lin Yutang who explained the seasons of life in this way, “I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer, but it is too proud. So I like fall best of all, because its leaves are a little yellow, its tone mellower, its colors richer, and it is tinged a little with sorrow… Its golden riches speak not of the innocence of spring, nor of the power of summer, but of the mellowness and kingly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitations of life and is content.”
I have to admit that I am approaching my fall of life, and I find this quote to be so true. As I mature, it is easier to see the richness of life but also some of the limitations of life. With this knowledge, I can be content with life how it is, not necessarily how I expected it to be.
Fall is a time for celebration as well as a time for a searching of the conscience. If you planted abundantly in the spring and fought against the insects, weeds, and weather of summer, fall can bring rewards that will give you cause for rejoicing.
On the other hand, if you watched both the arrival and departure of spring and made little effort to take advantage of its almost momentary tenure, fall can be a time of turmoil, a time of anxiety, and a time of great regret.
It is in the fall when you discover how long or short the winter will be. The fall tells you if you have really done that which is required, or if you have fooled yourself through the temporary anesthetizing of conversation and pretense of telling yourself you have worked enough when you haven’t.
Although the following truths are difficult to accept at times, you must take responsibility for your harvest during the fall. The soil and the arrival of fall together occupy the seat of judgment, which presents the final truth of your effort. There can be no disputing its final verdict, for the evidence of your toil, care, and patience is indisputable. Either the crops are bountiful, or they are not. If not, you need to look no further than to the hands of those who were charged with responsibility last spring. The excuses of poor soil, poor seed, or bad weather are better left unsaid.
Nothing is more exciting than a bountiful harvest and nothing more dreadful than a barren field in the fall. So it is as you are given the responsibility for planting the crops of your field, and so it is also when you are given the responsibilities of your life and success in every area. An unproductive and meager result in the season reserved for harvesting makes confession of your own past failures both difficult and necessary.
An empty bank account is a sign of a past ineffective effort. It is a sign of a missed opportunity. It is a sign of too much procrastination or laziness or spending on non-essential luxuries. The principles and laws found in God’s Word are faultless. This applies equally well to the farmer, to the business person, and to the individual. Just like the law of gravity is a universal law, there is a law of God that is equally applied to all things and all people, regardless of personal belief. This law has endured since the creation of the world, and for that long, humans have sought to circumvent it, or argue with it, and even to ignore it. In the end, your results demonstrate if you have obeyed or disobeyed its orders. The law is simple and known to all. The law is found in Galatians 6:7, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” This law is universal in both the spiritual and natural worlds.
In all areas of the human existence, be aware that what you put into this world, you get back from it. It is God’s principle and has a way of leveling the field. Your thoughts and actions determine your results, your lifestyle, and your attitude. Lies, sooner or later, attract lies in return. Finding an easier way at the expense of quality will take its inevitable toll in decreased results whether that be in profits or in sleepless nights, or both. All effort, whether it is how you treat others personally or in the business world, be it service, marketing, recruiting, or products must bring good to all those who are involved, or the effort will not withstand the final test of time.
Corn planted in the spring will produce corn in the fall, as will wheat, barley, or melons produce after their own kind. You cannot plant one crop and expect to harvest another just because you change your mind during mid-summer.
While there may be temporary exceptions to this, it is a tendency of humans to look at those who enjoy success as having been, at some earlier time, either lucky or dishonest. Surely, the man driving the luxury car toward his expensive home on the hill could not deserve it through hard work and sacrifice.
Such is the language of the poor. For the fortunate man with the car and the house on the hill, these are crops given to him in his fall of the business season, as just rewards for efforts expended during an earlier springtime of his life. This may be the same springtime during which those who now condemn the man possibly sat back and laughed, or fished, or told stories. This is the folly of humans.
Those who condemn the successful man or woman for their apparent good fortune or dishonesty are unaware of the price often paid for success. They cannot see the massive disappointments, the shattered hopes, or the broken dreams. They do not understand the risks incurred in both raising and investing capital for an idea yet unproven. They do not see the legal involvements, the tax burdens, the challenges of labor, or the restraining governmental regulations. Nor do they appreciate the family dissent that seems to automatically accompany the pursuit of success. Those who condemn see and scorn the result, being unaware of the cost as well as the cause that produced the success.
In the fall, we either enjoy, or we excuse. For those who failed to take full advantage of the spring, who failed to guard their crops carefully throughout the heat of summer, there can be no legitimate reasons, only excuses, and excuses are merely apologetic attempts to place blame on circumstances rather than on ourselves.
The difference between an inadequate apartment and a mansion on the hill is the same as the difference between average effort in the spring and massive effort in the spring. Nature always promises that a cup produces a bushel, that we will receive more than we plant. Knowing this, as all of us do, we forget that to reap many bushels, which is the measure of success, we still must plant many cups. Massive action in the spring of life is still the requirement for massive success in the fall. Forty hours a week invested in the fields of opportunity may not be enough, especially if it is invested in the wrong field. Sometimes, to improve your results, you must make the painful admission that your present field is too rocky, or thorny, or that the fertile soil is too shallow. And while there is great difficulty involved in changing one field for another more fertile field, that difficulty is insignificant compared to the ultimate difficulty that comes from not changing.
The truths of the fall season are difficult for us to accept. I also struggle with these concepts, even though they are universally true. I realize that there may be overriding exceptions, but we cannot allow that to be an excuse for a meager harvest.
We all know of those who have overcome massive mountains of opposition to produce a bountiful harvest in their lives. It is my prayer that all of us, including myself, will take to heart, consider, and understand these truths. The immutable laws of planting and harvesting are set by God and cannot be changed or violated any more than we can override the law of gravity. When you grasp this concept, then you can direct and achieve a rich and satisfying life that Jesus offers in John.