Lately, I’ve been thinking about seasons. It might have something to do with the calendar announcing today is the first day of summer. Reminds me of Ecclesiastes 3:1, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”
Summer season in south Florida means oppressive heat and afternoon thunderstorms. It means mosquitoes and hurricanes. It also means less crowded roads and a slower pace of life, now that our most of our winter residents have flown back to their northern homes.
But seasons are not limited to weather or the calendar. We have seasons of life, too. Remember the ancient riddle of the Sphinx, recounted in Greek mythology? It hints at these seasons. The Sphinx was said to have asked: “Which creature walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and three legs in the evening?” The answer is man – who crawls on all fours as a baby, walks on two feet as an adult, and walks with a cane in old age.
Reflect on a young mom, caught in a seemingly never-ending parade of dirty diapers. Or a young man who doesn’t bother investing in an IRA because retirement seems so far away. Consider a single mom, wondering how she will care for her three children as her car pulls away from the cemetery. Think of an elderly woman sitting in a nursing home, listening to a song on the radio that triggers memories of her husband’s marriage proposal sixty years earlier.
Often seasons bring experiences we could never have anticipated. Suffering we would never have contemplated or joys we could never have imagined. But seasons change…and we have a choice.
We can be “all there” in our present season, or we can waste the gift we’ve been given by wishing it away while we dream of the past or the future. We can grumble about dirty diapers now, and an empty nest later. We can resent the injustices done to us by people in our past, and carry those broken relationships into the future. We can complain about lost career opportunities years ago, and use them as an excuse to avoid creating new opportunities for ourselves today. Or…
Or we can enjoy the gift of the present. The moments we have today. The relationships we have that can be strengthened. The words we can speak to encourage someone else. The skills we can learn with the opportunities we have. Most importantly, we can use the opportunities of our present season to grow into the men and women that God intended for us to be.
Ephesians 5:16 tells us how to handle the present. I love how the different translations approach this verse. The NASB tells us to “make the most of the time,” while the KJV exhorts us to “redeem the time.” The NIV encourages us to “make the most of every opportunity,” while the ESV tells us to “make the best use of the time.”
Whatever the translation, the meaning is clear. The present is a present. Don’t waste it, whatever season you’re in.