The C3 November theme is “The Journey of Thanksgiving.” The older I get, and hopefully wiser, the more I realize life is a journey. The journey, which includes the good, bad, and ugly along the way, helps to shape me into the person God created me to be. The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 8:28 that God uses all things for our good and His glory, but this is not always easy to embrace when you are in the middle of a difficult time or season. This realization is part of the maturing process and helps me to give thanks in all seasons, not just when things are going my way.
I heard a definition of maturity once that has stuck with me through the years. Maturity is the ability to forgo short term benefit for long term gain. I can look back on some of the choices made and see that not all choices made were necessarily good or bad, but the season in which the decision was made also had an important bearing on the outcome.
Knowing the Season
As I reflect on my younger years, it was more about the immediate and what would benefit me in the short term. In middle age, it becomes more about the journey and building for the future. Later in life we begin to focus on legacy and how I will be remembered or what I will leave behind. Each of these seasons are important to build the quality life God created us to have.
One of the best verses that expresses the intentionality of God when He created us is found in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” We are His individual masterpieces, and as we align with His purpose and pleasure we will grow and mature into the son or daughter He created us to be. Understanding the season and taking the appropriate actions in the season are important aspects of wisdom and maturity.
The sons of Issachar, men of understanding, knew the season and knew what Israel was to do, which is found in 1 Chronicles 12:32. There is wisdom in knowing the season you are in and knowing what to do during that season. We can also see the wisdom in this principle when we apply it to agriculture. If the soil is not prepared and we do not plant seeds in the proper season, we will not have a crop to harvest at the appropriate time.
Prepare for the Journey
Zig Zeigler provided a definition of success that bears repeating here, “success is when opportunity meets preparation.” Knowing the season is important in making good decisions and being thankful in all seasons, but preparation is also a key ingredient. The parable of the sower found in Mark 4:2-8 is an excellent story that highlights the importance of preparing the soil and the abundant harvest that can result.
“He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”
The seeds fell on all four soils, but it was the prepared soil that produced the abundant harvest of 30, 60, 100 times that amount sown. The cultivation was the preparing of the soil, removing of the rocks, thorns, and thistles. This cultivation process can be applied to each of our lives to ensure we are taking care of our bodies and being transformed by the renewing of minds so we may test and approve of God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will. When we align with His will, we can reflect the heart of thanksgiving that He created us to have, independent of the circumstances we face.
A Heart of Thanksgiving
The wisdom of knowing the season and properly preparing for the journey will allow us to rejoice and be thankful as we face all that life has to offer. The Apostle Paul challenges us in Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God, And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Join me to intentionally reflect the many blessings God provides for us during this Thanksgiving season. Let our thanksgiving be reflected in our love and generosity that we provide toward or families and communities to make our world a better place and glorify Jesus throughout the year.
To get more information and join the South Carolina Christian Chamber of Commerce (SC-C3) movement, go to www.sc-c3.org and become a member today!
Jamie Jordan is the State Director for the South Carolina Christian Chamber of Commerce (SC-C3). His passion is to see unity and excellence exhibited within the Christian community. Jamie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org