As we continue our study in Ecclesiastes chapter three, the final season is winter. During the final days of fall, the brilliant colors have gone and the leaves now have fallen away. The season of bearing abundant fruit is ended.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;”
As the seasons change, the ‘sap’ or the life-blood of the plant begins to drop down lower and lower coming to rest during the winter in the plants’ root system. The top part of the plant, the part that can be seen, is left exposed for the necessary inspection and pruning of the branches. The old and dying growth is taken out by the farmer, to make room for the new growth in the spring. Meanwhile down in the root system of the plant the sap is stored, safely adding to and keeping the roots of the plant firmly secure.
It is during this first winter that the plant will either live or die; it all depends on the root system it has developed during those first three seasons of its life. So plants that have not developed the proper root system that is needed for the sap to do its’ work will die. Then as the farmer walks his field he will pull up the dead plant and toss it to the side to make room for another live one.
I have seen some plants that were planted on good ground: dug around, fertilized and watered that still never made it through the winter. And then there are others that I would think could not possibly live, that cling stubbornly to the rocks and come back year after year. What makes the difference? The answer can only be found within the plant itself.
It is the same with life. The wintertime of life or old age, is when all pretense has fallen away and the true character of the person is revealed for all to see. It is during this time of life that you can look back into your past and see your successes and your failures. To all that pass by, there may not seem to be that much activity going on. The body and the mind are working slower now; just as with the plant you read about earlier; the ‘sap’ or energy for life has been re-routed. The primary concern is maintaining the foundation, and keeping it secure.
To a Christian the main concern should be to make sure that the faith given to you holds firmly to the promise of the ‘farmer’ or ‘The Lord of the Harvest” who has told you he will return for you. Meanwhile you go about the business of continuing to study His Word, reaching out to others when possible. Time grows short.
Some Christians in this stage of life will only be able to cling to Jesus, the rock of their salvation; remaining steadfast until He comes for them: like the example of the tree stubbornly clinging to the rocks. Other Christians will be able to reach out and gain new understandings as they have more time to meditate on His Word.
To the Christian who has lived her seasons wisely in this life; knowing that this earth is only the journey and heaven is the destination you can be comforted and encouraged during this time.
There are facts that each Christian can be sure of.
The first fact is not one that any of us like to be reminded of: You can be sure that you will die from this earth, but only God knows the when.
You can be sure it will be at the time He has set and not before.
You can be sure you will die in peace, being able to say with the songwriter of old, “it is well with my soul”.
And finally, you can be sure you will die in victory! As the apostle Paul said “to die is gain”(Phillipians 1:21)
That is why he encourages you not to be sorrowful as others who have no hope. (1 Thess. 4:13) You may be sown in corruption, but you will be raised in incorruption. You may be placed in the ground in death but just as the seed in the ground is very much alive and being prepared for its’ entrance into this world: your Spirit is still very much active and alive, waiting for when Christ, the Lord of the Harvest will raise you again on the resurrection morning for your entrance into Heaven to begin your new life in your new body with Him.