Well we’ve been back in the UK some 4 weeks now. One thing that really seems obvious is the difference in temperature that is a constant reminder that I am not in Africa. It’s a funny thought that was brought home to me when I spoke to Cornelius in Zambia. Last night, here it was -3 degrees, in Zambia it was 27! Seasons are so intrinsic to our lives, we simply cannot get away from them.
It was that thought that I shared with my board this Saturday as we met. Based upon Ecclesiastes Chapter 3, we talked about what seasons meant and how they worked. Like our very country, I do believe that God gives everything and everyone seasons with which to work. For a few months we have believed that Dignity was facing a new season. Little did I know when I first said that earlier this year, how true it would turn out to be. Since then, I’ve decided to change country, push my foot hard against what God is calling us to do and to try and accelerate.
When you read Ecclesiastes, it presents you almost with a sense of futility about our life. We sow and reap, we live then die etc. Nothing seems to matters. But there is hope, in v14, it says that whatever God does stands for ever. Maybe God’s intervention in our life and in our world is like an Indian Summer (an unseasonally warm spell), a welcome change from the futility that an pervade our existence. When God’s season shows up, it can even bring light, direction, life and purpose to the very seasons we all find ourselves in. What God does, when we get caught up in it, makes a difference for everyone.
In Africa and for Dignity, I believe the season is changing, and very rapidly. There was a time where mission was all about Jesus, that has faded. However the season must change again. This time, in servant hearted work and empowerment, the gospel must go forward again, through the very people in Africa. This is no season for heroes, or dominance, it is time to give power away and to embrace everything that God wants to do. You see when a new season is presenting itself, there are things to do.
You must plant with the new season in mind, that’s why in Africa everyone plants as the rains are going to arrive. Sometimes even when the seasons of our life are changing, we feel a tug in our hearts that we cannot ignore. This isn;t failure, emotionalism or stupidity. It’s God’s call at the base of our beings to do something different. What does that mean for you?
The thing is, if we don;t respond to the season, it soon passes. There is a time where it is too late to do anything. Jesus encouraged us to work whilst it is day. People starve if they don’t plant before a season. What will the consequence be for our life and others if we do not align ourselves to what God is bringing?
Conversely, if you plant in season and the season does not fail, then you reap a harvest. There is fruit for everyone and everything.
For Dignity, for me, this is a time to sow, to plant and to work hard. A new season is approaching. That is true for our work, for myself and my family.
What season is God bringing to you? What will you do with it?
Think about it, it could change your life.