“He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.” (Psalm 1:3 ESV)
Schools have begun and so has football season. The baseball playoffs are here and the summer heat and humidity are gone. Autumn is a wonderful season with a crispness in the air and beautiful fall colors from the leaves. It’s harvest time too, with apples and pumpkins at the forefront. We’re looking forward to our annual Fall Festival and the wonderful time around the bonfire.
We can think of seasons of life as well, of coming down the homestretch as it were. We do have a finite time here on this earth, and one of the consequences of the Fall is that our bodies are subject to the ravages of time. Steve Chapman, in his devotional, With God on a Deer Hunt, gives this humorous observation: “I am 50 years old now. It feels like my ‘autumn’ has arrived. There’s a peculiar dryness about my joints that is troublesome. Other body parts are showing the effects of the years, especially my hairline. Bones that didn’t ache before are speaking to me. As far as my eyes are concerned, forget the longer arms idea—pass me my glasses! I feel like my friend who turned 50 a few weeks before me. When I asked him how it felt, he responded, ‘Hey! I feel like a teenager…” He paused for a moment then added with a tired sigh, “…that’s been in a wreck!’” (p. 12) He then wisely points us back to the beginning of Psalm 1 to understand that though our body may, as it were, like a leaf in its season, curl up around the edges and become a bit brittle, our soul may be sustained and our spiritual lives fruitful.
The contrast to the wicked by the Psalmist couldn’t be clearer. And that picture is used by the prophet too: “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away” (Isaiah 64:6 ESV). Unless we are united to Jesus Christ by faith (see John 15) we will bear no fruit in our lives. But when we are “abiding” in Him we will bear much fruit!
No matter what season of life you are currently in, how fruitful are you? The grace that is ours in Christ sustains us to the end of our days. This Fall please make diligent use of all the means of grace that God has given us in the life of LRPC.
C.H. Spurgeon, in his devotional Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden has a delightful section entitled “No Old Age in Grace.” He expands on a quote from Thomas Manton:
We have our infancy at our first conversion, when liable to childish ignorance and many infirmities; we have our youth and growing age, when making progress in the way of grace toward perfection; and lastly, we have our perfect manly age when we are come to our full pitch, when grace is fully perfected in glory. In Scripture there is nothing said of a fading and declining time of old age in grace.
Spurgeon then goes on to say
The fact being that, unlike the natural life, the spiritual life does not conclude in declining strength and inevitable decrepitude, but continues its progress even beyond the grave. We go from strength to strength, not from strength to weakness. The old age of grace is maturity, not decay; advancement, not decline; perfection, not imbecility. In the advanced years of nature we lose many of our faculties, but in advanced grace our spiritual senses are more quick and discerning than ever. The aged man feels the grasshopper to be a burden, and the clouds return after the rain; but to the advanced believer the greatest loads are light and the rain is over and gone. Old age goes down to death, but ripe grace ascends to everlasting life. Lord, let me grow ripe but not rotten, maturing but not decaying, for thy glory’s sake.
And I say, Amen!
Have a blessed October,
Spurgeon, C.H. Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden. Harrisonburg, Virginia: Sprinkle Publications. 1977. p.40.