To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NKJV). Winter is often the least preferred of all the seasons. However, it is one of the most beneficial. Winter provides a period of rest for the earth. The ground lies fallow and absorbs nutrients from decaying summer growth. It slowly drinks in the melting snows, filtering and storing the fresh waters that sustain life. Birds migrate south while some creatures hibernate to wait out the cold. Man also enjoy shorter days that limit activity and provide time for reflection and rest. God has provided for boundaries as well as balance in all aspects of creation. The day is Yours, the night also is Yours; You have prepared the light and the sun. You have l set all the borders of the earth; You have made summer and winter (Psalm 74:16-17 NKJV).
Recognizing the value of rest, God instituted a weekly Sabbath and a Sabbath year for Israel. And so it was, on the sixth day, that they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one. And all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. Then he said to them, “This is what the LORD has said: ‘Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning’” (Exodus 16:22-23 NKJV). “Six years you shall sow your land and gather in its produce, but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave, the beasts of the field may eat. In like manner you shall do with your vineyard and your olive grove. Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female servant and the stranger may be refreshed (Exodus 23:10-12 NKJV).
Periods of rest are necessarily balanced by periods of labor. Diligence is required to make provision. It requires faith in God to make the effort to provide and perhaps greater faith, to truly rest when appropriate. For Israel, allowing the ground to lie fallow for a year meant waiting two years for another harvest! ‘So you shall observe My statutes and keep My judgments, and perform them; and you will dwell in the land in safety. ‘Then the land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill, and dwell there in safety. ‘And if you say, “What shall we eat in the seventh year, since we shall not sow nor gather in our produce?” ‘Then I will command My blessing on you in the sixth year, and it will bring forth produce enough for three years. ‘And you shall sow in the eighth year, and eat old produce until the ninth year; until its produce comes in, you shall eat of the old harvest (Leviticus 25:18-22 NKJV).
The truth that we are still dependent on God is lost on our culture. We are accustomed to packaged foods, stocked supermarkets, grocery pickup and even delivery to our front door. We fail to remember that someone is working diligently to make all these things happen. It is still appropriate to ask and to thank God for our daily bread (Matthew 6:11). It is still necessary to work as the Apostle Paul reminded the brethren in Thessalonica. For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 NKJV). The lazy man will not plow because of winter; He will beg during harvest and have nothing (Proverbs 20:4 NKJV).
The adage that one must “make hay while the sun shines” is true. Although spring has just arrived, winter is approaching. Plant, tend, harvest, and enjoy with thanksgiving. Just be certain to tend the right garden. “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him” (John 6:27 NKJV).