Season's Change(part 1)
A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. (Eccl. 3:2)
Death & Re-Birth
The process of death and re-birth in order to reap the harvest.
In verse two, we are told that there is a time when birth and death takes place. We can relate to this in the natural sense. However, looking at the second part of this verse: ‘planting and harvesting’ we can relate the whole process of birth and death in a spiritual context. One has to first die to self (one’s old nature) in order to be ‘born-again’ (having a new life in Christ; re-birth).
Some may pass through the water of baptism yet are not born of the Spirit. When this happens he/she has had a ‘pre-mature arrival’ into the Christian faith, as one pastor puts it. That individual has not had the experience or gone through the process of re-birth – being born-again. Therefore, it is vital that the process of planting/ sowing the seeds of the Good News (The Gospel) is seen to be of high importance.
Once the planting has taken place, care is needed. Just like with the farmer’s field, the seed is planted and then he tends his field. He waters the seed and the sunshine provides the light it needs so that the nourished earth will allow the plant to grow and produce fruit. A process of pruning and possibly fertilising may be necessary for the plant to spread. Once the plant produces fruit, then there will be a harvest ready for reaping. If that pruning process – the element of care, is missing, the new arrival may produce fruit, initially, but then wither and die from mal-nutrition.
If you have been planting and still cannot see a harvest – no fruit-bearing plants are evident, then it’s time to check that you are:
1.Indeed preaching the Full TRUTH of the Gospel (the whole truth and nothing but the truth);
2.Preaching in a manner comprehended by the congregation you serve;
It is pointless preaching to a group of French student in English because they won’t understand the language. Likewise, a congregation with the majority having basic knowledge of the bible (including new-born believers and a youthful congregation) will not understand the complex version of the gospel. Your message should always be clear and simple so that all who hear it (whether regular members or just passing visitors) can understand.
3.Not rushing the period/process of planting or growing.
Be patient: Give each stage the full attention it requires. A new born baby cannot think or act, like an adult. Therefore, for each season of their development they need food, relevant to their stage or level of growth. Once fully developed, these mature Christians will begin to bear fruits. And everyone will reap the harvest God promises.
In order to be born again, one has to be broken. I would like to use a rotten mango as an example. The rotten mango is of no use unless it is planted. Once in its state of rottenness, it is planted in the ground – buried. While the mango is under the earth, it is being broken, in order for the new growth to take place. The opening will allow the new shoot to burst through and soon, with nurturing (manure, water and sunlight etc.) the new plant will be evident and after some years of growing it begins to bear more mangoes. The owner of that mango tree will then reap the harvest.
Likewise, the seed of faith has to be planted in order to grow. But the process of brokenness can be unbearable, confusing (if there is no guidance) and can sometimes cause doubt. Therefore, care is needed after that seed is planted. That individual needs a hand and constant encouragement (nourishment) in order to sustain and be able to spring to life again (in the form of a tree which will produce fruits). If this process is correctly applied and the individuals take heed to the Word of God, then there will be a natural process of dying to self and being born of the Spirit. The re-birth will be evident and the individuals will walk in the newness of Christ. The reaping of the harvest will be an individual as well as collective one.
If there is no growth evident in individuals the growth of the church will be stifled and both in question remain spiritually stagnant/dead. For this reason, we cannot afford to rush the process that leads to a harvest. If the process is rushed ‘self’ may not get the opportunity to die completely and that can cause chaos in the church and the individual’s life. So teach from the Word of God; nurture the new born believers (not forgetting to feed and encourage those farther on the journey, otherwise they may become complacent). Then exercise patience and prepare for the harvest.
Verse one gives an overall picture of bringing us to the knowledge that there is a designated time for everything. "There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under the heaven." This flows through the series and shows the importance of each activity on our journey as believers.
This series developed, from the article ‘My Beloved Child’, as a leadership tool to help the church towards growth. Though the articles are targeted at leaders, they are written in a simple form so that any believer reading the articles can find tips within, to help towards spiritual growth.
To read the other parts of this article you can visit: http://www.write2shine.com/Season_s_Change.html