It’s the last few weeks of the Australian autumn now! Is anyone else thinking, “Where has this year gone?” Honestly I think this every year, more and more now the older I get. Perhaps it has something to do with not always living in the moment as I did when I was younger and free to do so. Perhaps I haven’t done everything I expected I would this far into the year. You work and live and before you know it, days, weeks, months have run away. But next week winter begins. It’s like the anticipation of “Winter is coming.” The long, dry, cold, fruitless winter. But we can get lost in the surface of the winter and write it off as a dry season, distracted by what we can see above the ground and lose sight of what is being prepared underneath.
Yet, though I do like winter (I love the fashion, and I love snow – yes it snows in Australia before I’m asked for the 100th time), I love even more that the end of winter always means that spring time will come. And with it, so much promise and fruit and blessing. It’s my favourite season, because everything that has been in preparation over the winter comes into the light; it comes back to life. The trees that shed all their shame in the autumn, spring new life again. I love the way C.S.Lewis writes it in his poem:
“Wrong will be right when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, We shall have spring again!”
I’ve spoken before of spiritual seasons. In fact, I’ve “rambled” about them. Because I have learnt to love them, I’ve found hope in them, and healing in them. I have found trust and peace in them. I have found Jesus in them. I hope you have too. But that wasn’t what I was going to share this month! It was going to be more about treasure and less about waiting. I want to talk more about living in the moment, where ever that is, and where ever you find yourself. It’s a skill we have to be more and more dedicated to perfect in a world that has pulled our attention away from what is really important in the now, to what we might desire on the morrow.
The world demands our attention. In the developed world, we are constantly distracted by what we don’t have, by things we think we need – a new house- bigger of course- a new car, clothes that will make us look better, skinnier or more attractive. We look at spending as a way of increasing out self worth. Yet how many of us are content with all that we have and that being enough? We put our heart into material possessions that are meaningless and drown out what is essential. We devalue our relationship with God, our time spent in the company of others and the ‘giving of ourselves’ to other people.
If what I’ve said before about seasons is true – that the God that we serve is loving, and kind and generous with His people, is the same God whose words are our roadmap, the light that we need to follow, our true North, will He not always provide for His people as He has before? The God who created all things, will He not continue to create for those He deeply loves? So whom do we need to fear then? And what should cause us to worry?
If we truly place our trust, and hope and security in a God who is loving, and not in money, or possessions, or material things, we will walk out of this life far richer than we came into it.
Matthew’s version of the gospel sums it up (Matthew 6:19-22). “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
He goes on through verses 25-34 to outline the meaningless practice of ‘worry’. It is redundant when we serve a God like we do.
God has provided for me in the winter. He has provided clothes, food, shelter and warmth. He has given me spiritual blessing, and physical blessing. Whom shall I fear? Why should I be afraid? Nothing can separate me from the love of Christ (Romans 8).
I chose to put my treasure in Christ. I chose to be wise with my money, my time, my possessions, but all so that my heart will continue to be with my Father in Heaven. May I always be loving to others, selfless and kind, generous and gentle with people. And with all that, may I lead a life that points others to the Father. May I ‘Shine my Light‘ so to speak.
There is so much in this world that like a weed, will entangle us. Let me make this clear though – The World is NOT our enemy. People and politics are not out to steer our desire away from the Lord. The Enemy, Satan, and evil are set out to destroy the freeness we’re welcome into through Jesus. It is them who is your enemy, do not lose sight of that. Remain generous and in community.
So next time you find yourself possessed by worry and controlled by your fears, or finances or failures, remember this. That we will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. And just like He clothes the flowers, and feeds the birds, He will provide everything that you need, for trust me, you are worth more than many sparrows.
Spring time is coming, but turn back to the Lord and do not forget Him in the winter. Place your treasure in Him.