We’ve been pretty blessed with nice weather so far this fall so it sometimes seems hard to remember that winter is well on its way! Last Saturday (while our Cross Country runners were out running a race), I was raking leaves at my house. You see, I have 3 trees in my back yard that shed their leaves, as well as 2 trees (3, if you count my neighbor’s tree that hangs over my yard) in the front yard. The trees are wonderful during the spring when they provide shade for the new little plants that sprout under their protection and during the summer months when they protect my yard from getting sun-scorched , but during the fall, they’re nothing but work! So far this season I’ve raked a total of 20 bags of leaves, and guess what…all the leaves have not yet fallen from their spring and summer homes!
So last Saturday, when I was raking, I was thinking about all of those leaves! The monologue in my head went something like this: “Why am I here raking these leaves this morning while the Cross Country team is about 3 miles up the road running their regional meet? Dang, these trees sure have a ton of leaves on them! And look…this whole bunch of leaves here is from my neighbors’ tree! They aren’t even my leaves and I have to rake them! And look! There’s my neighbor girl across the street raking leaves, too. She’s probably getting punished with having to rake the leaves!" Do you hear the self-pity in my head? But slowly, the monologue changed tone. “Well, at least it’s a nice day in which to spend the whole morning raking leaves. And they were pretty as they changed colors. Hey…at least I don’t have to go to the gym today since I’ve spent 2 ½ hours raking leaves and getting a workout! Maybe it makes my neighbor girl feel better knowing that she’s not out here raking leaves all by herself.” As time went by, I actually started enjoying raking! It made me realize that there is a time and a season for all things.
The writer of Ecclesiastes said it like this. The leaves are certainly on the trees for more than beauty, and they’re certainly not on the trees just to make more work for me! They serve their purpose, and when their purpose is done, they fall from the tree. Such is everything else in life. There is a time when we must buckle down and study and a time when we must lay aside the studies and be with our friends. There is a time when we must tear down the old Mound and build up a new one. There is a time when we must say goodbye to friends or family and hello to new friends and family. The leaves can’t stay on the tree forever—they receive too much damage from the spring rainstorms and the summer heat. They must fall off, so that they can renew their purpose the next year. During this season of changes, I pray that you would see where God’s hand is leading and guiding you, in the good times and in the bad times. I pray that you will have discernment as to when to lay aside the homework and be there for a friend and when to put in an extra hour or two of studies for the day. I pray that you would see the handiwork of God wherever you find yourself!