As I study Exodus, I am preaching about Genesis. We just finished looking at the Creation story. As you review each day of Creation, you finally reach the seventh day. Rest. I love how God built this great rhythm of work and rest into His creation. This rhythm continues throughout the Bible, and today’s verse is one of these continuations.
God tells His people that the land needs renewal. As I take my morning walks, I often take note of the small things that I wouldn’t see rushing throughout my day. I look around the neighborhood, at the different gardens and flowers. I consider the different seasons, the way the growth patterns work. There is great rhythm in creation, and with it there is renewal that God designed within His creation.
We also need renewal. We need to have time to rest and time to renew ourselves in the Lord. Part of this means being intentional with your time. We have different seasons of our lives, just like there are different seasons of a calendar year. We have seasons of challenge, seasons of loss. We have seasons of growth and seasons of change. Each season is different, but each requires rest and renewal. More importantly, in each season we need the Spirit of God to lead us through, to mold us and grow us for the next season.
“But let the land be renewed and lie uncultivated during the seventh year. Then let the poor among you harvest whatever grows on its own. Leave the rest for wild animals to eat. The same applies to your vineyards and olive groves.” – Exodus 23:11 [NLT]
For the past two weeks, life was different. The schedule was different. Things were rearranged. Time spent was different. The people I spent the most time with were new in my life. Everything was different. As quickly as it began, it was finished. For two weeks, the church hosted a homeless shelter. There is no going back to the way things once were. We are different. The church is different. I sit here tonight considering what I’m not going to be doing tonight. Wondering where the list of people will be, how their day went, remembering silly moments filled with Spiderman and giggles, thinking back on the first day and all that has happened since.
As we left last night, some tears were shed. The season was over. It’s often difficult when a season ends. What do you do? Sometimes you wanted to do more. Sometimes you had hoped you could make more of a dent, more of an impact. Perhaps you wish you could be able to help more, make it last more, do something different. But the season ends.
Life is full of seasons. I just finished reading Ecclesiastes 3—“to every thing there is a season.” When a season ends, God is simply closing one door because it is time to go through another. It doesn’t mean the opportunity won’t come back around; it means your work is done at this point. There is something new God has for you to accomplish. When the season ends, praise Him for what He has done. He is an awesome God! Thank the Lord! Praise His great name! Pray. Seek Him. Read His Word. Seek out what He wants for you to do next. Wait in the silence. Listen for His voice. Continue onward into the next season. You are different now. You likely changed. You’ve grown. You are ready for the next step. May He prepare the way!