In Part 1, we examined how winter is a time of forced renewal. We continue that thought in this article.
Winter is a time to rest a bit. There is no replacement for the rest we receive in the night. There is no replacement for the time that we set aside for refreshment. It is not the typical American idea of a vacation where we return from a time of amusement, but the biblical concept of renewal, a sabbath of rest like Jesus took each time He prepared for an intense time in His earthly ministry. It is not lazy to “renew your strength” when you are honestly preparing for a marathon tomorrow. It is the way of God and nature. Even the plant whose existence must depend on photosynthesis of the day must have a dark and light phase to be healthy and prosper. God deliberately shortens the day and lengthens the night to remind us to change our pace. The summer will come soon enough with its sixteen-hour work-shifts; but for now, enjoy the quiet serenity of the long winter nights and renew your spirit.
It is a time to meditate. “Be still and know that I am God.” It is sometimes easy to be so busy “doing” that I can forget the focus. Winter is a time to “sit around the table,” and renew your fellowship with God and family. Set aside the cares of spring-soon-to-be. It is time for reflection about your purpose. Am I truly doing what God intends me to do? Am I accomplishing all that I can? What are some of my distractions? What do I need to learn? How can I be more efficient and effective? There are many other queries that we simply ignore unless some time is set aside to “consider our ways.” Meditation helps us isolate the grain from the chaff, to separate the acceptable, and the good, and the perfect will of God. If we are to truly number our days, we would be wise to manage our time to clean the clutter from our minds that accumulates as a result of the labor and activity of the year, and reset our direction.
Winter will force one to stay inside and sit a bit. It is a natural time to begin to ponder the past, present, and future; it is time to plan a bit. The farmer must choose his crops for the spring. He will study the market, consider the shape of the soil, and make an intelligent choice for the future. He will stockpile seed and fertilizer. He must count the cost, consider his farm equipment, and prepare diligently for the furor of the spring. The truly successful learn early to value the time the winter affords to carefully chart a course. It is a wonderful time to pray and plan so as not to waste the precious resources of the spring. No, I am not eliminating daily planning, but setting aside extra time where God can work in your heart to direct you in the “way that you should go Sloth would lull you to sleep and later rob you of time and labor as you scurry to and fro without direction; one can easily be busy but not productive. Pull up a chair next to the fire on a cold winter night and just think a little while.
The lessons of the farmer apply to all walks of life. These are universal truths that God has exposed for those disposed to notice. Life itself has its seasons. Learn to apply and use them in your situations and vocations. I always thanked God for the freshness of spring, the long days of summer, and the beauty of the fall; but I only tolerated winter. I know I wasted some of my winters because I did not know how to spend them wisely. I have learned through these years to love the winter. It is a special time to rest, and meditate, and plan, and repair, all to get ready for the busy spring. Spring, summer and fall will be more vibrant, beautiful, and productive because of preparations I have made this winter.
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Jim Carey was the first staff member hired by Pastor Trieber in 1976. For over 40 years, he has served in many capacities. He has taught in the Christian school since its inception and has taught junior church every Sunday for that entire time as well.