Fall is here. Undeniably, we have finally entered the season of autumn bliss. While August might have been pushing it when stores started carrying the hues of orange and stocking their shelves with pumpkin scented everything there is no denying at this point that we have actually entered the season of crunching leaves and crisp weather…and I, for one, couldn’t be happier.
I’ll be the first to admit that this season doesn’t come without challenges (hello transitional dressing), yet there’s something about this season that lends itself to quiet times with friends or in solitude, and also just to make a change in our daily routine in order to line-up with our new pursuits. And…it must be noticed that Fall does, in fact, mean something different to each of us.
For some, fall might be the beginning of football. For others, fall may signify the beginning of the holiday season. And for still others, fall is the season to begin celebrating the pumpkin spice latte (ladies, please, stop the madness). For my heart? Fall this year signifies a season of humility, a season of hope, and lastly, a season of harvest.
“Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches,
but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.
Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,
storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future,
so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.”
(1 Timothy 6:17-19)
A few of us at our local church started a small group Bible Study a few weeks ago and we started by walking through 1 Timothy as it contains many of the black and white tenets of spiritual formation and Christian leadership. As we walked through this letter from Paul, I was struck by how clear Paul’s instructions are to Timothy and how timely the reminder was in my personal life of the way that the gospel relates to our daily lives. We see it in the passage above. “Instruct them to…not be conceited [humility]…instruct them to fix their hope…instruct them to be rich in good works,[harvest].
…instruct them to not be conceited…
Humility has always been best defined to me by the C.S. Lewis quote “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” An effort to be humble is not necessarily a daily attempt to think less about yourself, but instead, is creating habits of putting others first. In a culture of information and emojis, instant coffee and endless traffic, it’s easy to get tunnel vision on our own lives and not think about what is going on around us.
Could it be said that humility is at play when we calm our road rage and think about why the person who cut us off might be in a hurry? Could humility be in our hearts when we understand that the person who just sent a curt email might really not be mad at us, but at something else in their environment? Could you show humility by talking to a coworker or maybe bringing them a coffee instead of rushing right into your day and slamming your earbuds in?
Humility in our day-to-day lives can be shown in a myriad of ways, but from the Christian seeking to share the gospel with their world, it seems that humility could best be shown by showing love…show love in your tone of speech. Show love in your actions. Show love in your ability to slow down and be present in each and every moment and interaction with others that cross your path.
It’s hard to be thankful when we’re only thinking of what serves us. When I think about all that I have, I’m tempted to only want more. But when I’m consciously grateful for everything I have and choose to shift my perspective, I am both grateful and humbled by what God has chosen to bless me with…and out of that spirit, I am able to share my blessings with others.
…instruct them to fix their hope…
One of my favorite songs this last year has been I have this hope by Tenth Avenue North. There’s something about this song that lends itself to late night drives and the perfect devotional reminder that our hope does not lie in things temporal, but rather in our eternal pursuits.
Hope comes alive when we remember that our daily struggles are for a greater purpose. Hope springs anew when we are reminded that every single smile we offer to someone here on earth is a representation of the God who lives inside of us. The season of Hope starts within each of our hearts individually when we allow the King of Kings to reign completely in our hearts.
Hebrews 10:23 says this: Let us hold fast the confession of our HOPE without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
What is your hope in this season? More importantly, WHO is your hope in? Are you trusting in His promises, knowing that He will come through – maybe not in your idea of perfect timing, but in His – and that He is enough?
Our hope is not in whether our plans turn out as expected, but our hope is in the fact that God is in control of our lives…that He who promised is faithful.
…instruct them to be rich in good works…
Harvest Activities are so much fun. Hayrides, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, the list goes on and on…and yet. The HARVEST we celebrate requires so. much. work. It isn’t a debatable fact that someone had to harvest the pumpkins, someone had to harvest the hay, and someone had to harvest and/or create the corn maze that we equal parts love/hate running through.
The undeniable fact is that Harvest is HARD WORK.
And yet…just as we see here in 1 Timothy, Paul is instructing Timothy and the church in Ephesus to work, to do good things, to have hope and humility and then to put those to work in their community. To do the hard, HEART work which brings the gospel to life.
Often we ask God to bless what we want to do, or what we’re creating to do for Him, but sometimes we need to look at what God is already blessing. Maybe that new ministry can wait while you join another area where your hands might be needed…where can you serve in your local church? What work has he begun in you that you will allow him to continue? To reap a harvest in souls, we must first love those around us. One person said it this way “How do you expect to dance around the throne with them if you can’t even shake their hand.”
The honest truth is that sometimes harvest begins with preparing and strengthening our hearts and lives to be able to work. To ready ourselves for the work ahead. The team of harvesters aren’t the weakest of the bunch, they are those with strong backs and arms prepared to lift and do the heavy work required to bring in the crops. The same goes for our spiritual self and the sharing of the gospel.
Our harvest will only be as profitable as the strength of those harvesting. YOU determine the quality of the harvest. What is the quality of the harvest you are currently reaping?
This season, these coming months, this next quarter, this FALL, let’s sit with each other in the journey of humility. In the season of hope. In the season of harvest. And as we grow, let’s join the journey of those who join with us. Let’s show each other what love looks like and not rush each other along with platitudes and lackluster cliches. Let’s harvest with hard work, with heart work, allowing people to see the Jesus inside of us is real, and not just something we talk about.
Humility. Hope. Harvest. These three things can shape up to make this fall the most intentional and productive season yet. Let’s do this!