Learning from autumn

In our deeply troubled world God’s creation eloquently speaks to us. The spectacular autumn colours display the glory of the Creator as the sun illuminates the red, brown, and golden leaves. The leaves have already begun falling and soon the trees will be bare. Animals are preparing for winter by growing thicker coats and storing food for winter. Birds have begun migrating to warmer places. Creation is preparing for the coldness of winter and beyond that for the prospect of spring and a new beginning.

Have we learned the lessons God teaches us through his creation? In the busyness of life, we may fail to prepare for our eternal future. In many parts of the world people live longer and enjoy a good quality of life. In their later years some find a mini golden age enjoying good health, financial resources, and the time to do what they enjoy doing but, like the autumn leaves, it only lasts for a time. The wise king, Solomon, said “God has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart.”

It is only too easy to live in the present and make no preparations for dying and eternity. Jesus told a story about a rich farmer who had an abundant harvest. He decided to tear down his old barns and build bigger ones to store his surplus grain. Then he said to himself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” Jesus said the rich man’s mistake was not that he had an abundant harvest or that he was a wise steward of his wealth, but that he was not “rich to God.” He had not considered his mortality and prepared for his eternal future.

In the autumn creation looks beyond the winter to the springtime when the trees will again put forth new leaves and the birds will return. So too we need to look beyond this life to the world to come. Before he was crucified Jesus comforted his disciples saying, “You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

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