VOICE OF THE HARVEST MAGAZINE

ENGAGING THE COMMUNITY IN A CHRIST CENTERED CONVERSATION

NOV

2019

A SEASON OF CHANGE

A SEASON OF CHANGE

BY BISHOP JOHN L. BENFORD

Autumn is a beautiful and interesting time of the year. It’s when the morning air turns crisp, the leaves become colorful, the dew saturates the ground and birds begin to migrate south. As you look around you; it’s the small signs that remind you change is in the air. Warm afternoons, followed by cool evenings, bring about a sense of refreshing after the long summer’s heat. This gives birth to a new season to look forward to. We are reminded of it everywhere we go…instead of butterflies gracing the landscape of summer we now see cocoons hanging from autumn branches. What was once a warm, gentle breeze has become brisk, frigid freeze. Seeing your breath form in the autumn air is a sign the holiday season is around the corner.

No matter how you feel about this time of year, you can’t stop nature. You can, however, embrace it. Life’s journey is full of pivotal transitional moments throughout the landscape that signal to us that the season of change has arrived. Sometimes we are not ready for it, yet, we learn to reach out and take hold nonetheless. Transitioning from places, seasons, and times can be difficult; however, when it’s met with an attitude of gratitude you are able to remember the fondness of seasons past. Spiritual journeys are much like natural journeys...sometimes they may appear unannounced, but if you search deep within, you'll see spiritual signs everywhere that the season is changing.

The writer of the book of Ecclesiastes, says that,

“To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven. A time to be born, a time to die. A time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted. A time to weep, a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. A time to embrace and a time to refrain.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-5 KJV)

Life teaches us that when these seasons come about, whether we are ready or not, we must learn to embrace them, taking the best of what they have to offer. Such is life. Since the passing of my beloved mother-in-law, I have found myself dealing with the emotions the arrival of this new season brings, along with questions about life and the meaning of it all. I’m sure that some of you have experienced life in such a way and may have questions; I’d like to offer some perspective to bring hope and healing to your soul.

Remember your faith.

In his second letter to Timothy the Apostle Paul tells his young protégé,

“When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother, Lois, and thy mother, Eunice; and I am persuaded that is in thee also.” (2nd Timothy 1:5 KJV).

This passage helps us to reflect upon those loved ones that have planted seeds of faith deep within us. How they have tutored us in the things of God and have mentored us in areas of morality and life. These shape us to be whom God has called us to be. When a loved one passes on, we must realize that a piece of them has been deeply embedded within us. As if somehow calling onto us, saying, “remember who you are and what I have placed in you.”

We must never move away from the richness of these seeds of heritage. These deposits shift the balance of power in our lives causing us to excel and press beyond the norm, not flinching in the face of adversity but triumphing over every challenge. Let not their investment be in vain, for you too will wear the victor’s crown, which is bequeathed to you when you remember your faith!

Remember your gift.

Paul goes on to say,

“Wherefore I put thee in remembrance of the gift that is within thee…” (2 Timothy 1:6 KJV).

 

Oftentimes, those in our lives see things within us that we don’t see ourselves. They speak to the gift inside of us, though it may be dormant, as if there was a sleeping giant on the inside. We must realize that there's more within us. It's this gift and talent that promises to bring about our purpose, allowing us the grace in a particular season of life to impact others. The words they speak, quietly and gently nudges that giant causing him to wake and rise up. It’s not until they pass on that we look back and realize the level of impact they have made in our lives.

We think of impact as an obvious loud BANG! But it can also be a constant pressing, pushing what is in us out of us. Forming us into what God desires us to be. The spiritual impact our loved ones have had on us, is just like that. When these people have left our physical presence, we can look back and see their imprint all over our lives.

We must realize that the relationships we have in our lives are meaningful and purposeful, in particular, those of a spiritual nature. Recently, as I reflect upon people who have impacted my life, I recall the indelible impact that both my mother-in-law and my aunt have made. They are no longer with me, however, the things they have left and instilled within me, guide me to this day.

Remember your responsibility.

God is responsible for bringing us in the presence of people we need to keep. When the anointing flows, it flows from the head to the beard down to the chest and from there to the feet. The order of that flow is important, because once correctly aligned and joined, you position yourself to be the recipient of all the benefits and blessings that are in their life.

In the bible when the people of Israel suffered the loss of their leader Moses, they mourned for thirty days but then were encouraged to get up and forge ahead into the promised land. Also, the prophet Isaiah said, in the year that King Uzziah died, that he saw the Lord lifted high and the train of his robe filled the temple with glory. It's in times of loss that we receive our greatest revelation of the might, majesty, and glory of our Lord. Like Moses and Isaiah, the two women aforementioned were instrumental in the development of my life. They offered guidance and stability to me over the years and for that I am forever grateful. It gave me such a sense of encouragement knowing they were always there. Now that they are no longer with me, I reflect fondly on the lessons they taught me during our time together.

There's also a feeling, like that of passing the baton, a sense of responsibility to pay something forward that what they taught me may live on in someone else. There's a purpose greater than us. Perhaps you can leave a legacy in someone’s life. As for me, I pray I will do the same.

If you are in a season of change or transition, let us draw strength from remembering our faith, our gifts, and our responsibility which honors the integrity of those who have gone on before us. Value the spiritual relationships you have, and they will leave an everlasting imprint in your life.

Remember, as you live through life you are making memories that can be left behind, like breadcrumbs, for others to find their way through seasons that will bring them to the dawn of a new day. Let the horizon of your future burst bright with anticipation of the good things God has for you.

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