When a troubled Solomon tried to make sense of the times and seasons of life, he observed that “there’s a time to plant, and a time to harvest (Ecc 3:2).
Got to thinking about how much of following Christ involves personally planting seeds of faith, hope, and love in the God whose story includes large amounts of time.
In so many ways the Scriptures teach us that both faith and hope must form in the absence of seeing the results we are looking for (2Cor 5:7; Rom 8:22-25). The same seems to be true of love, for Jesus talks about not just loving those who love us– but those who don’t.
Even in thinking of the fruit of the Spirit, it’s easy to look for immediate results. It can happen. Giving ourselves to the control of the Spirit can result in a quick change of attitude. But many of us have probably also seen that over time, even our understanding of what it means to be filled with the Spirit slowly grows with a resulting and deepening love, joy, peace, and patience.
Seems like the thought of personally and thoughtfully planting, watering, and weeding the small amounts faith, hope, and love that have been given to us is a way of letting God use seasons, time, and eternity to show us what he can do with the conditions that bring us to the end of ourselves.