In season and out

With football season on the horizon, there is almost a tangible sense of excitement in the air. You can feel it buzzing and stirring, the anticipation mounting until it tops off and boils over.

Darius Rucker summed it up this way: “There’s two times of year for me: Football season, and waiting for football season.”

Without a doubt, there is a lot of momentum that follows this particular season. And when it’s not time, people are still talking about it. What happened last year and what can be improved on next year. Although the seasons may change, the passion continues.

In 2 Timothy 4:2, Paul exhorts Timothy saying, “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.”

Be ready in season and out of season. That’s what Paul instructed Timothy to do. He didn’t say only be ready when circumstances line up in such a way that you feel you can be ready. Or, you don’t have to be ready when things aren’t going the way you expected. No, Paul’s encouragement was clear: be ready in all seasons.

In our lives, we go through many different seasons. From high school to college, and from single-hood to marriage are just a few more obvious examples of change. But then there’s also the shift of your faith’s maturity and your attitude and focus. We may not see a sudden change such as graduation or a ceremony to mark the ending of one season and the beginning of another, but that does not lessen the importance of either.

In every season, we have something new we can learn and grow from. Ultimately, though, the decision of how much we develop is in our hands. Paul told Timothy to be ready in every season. How can we be ready to preach the word in every season if we don’t even know what the word says?

God has given us the Bible and the Holy Spirit to help guide and direct our lives. If, however, we are neglecting to spend quiet time with either, we are denying ourselves access to the source of life. How can we be patient with that obnoxious roommate or bossy coworker if we don’t know what patience looks like? We have got to start spending intentional, purposeful time with the Lord.

When football season comes around, do we think the boys on the field just learned the plays overnight? Do we think they have never practiced scrambling or throwing or running patterns before? Of course not. We know that they have put a lot of time in. If they weren’t on the field practicing, they were in the weight room getting stronger. Their work on the field was the result of their work off it.

The same applies to our spiritual journey. We can’t expect to be strong in our faith if we never put in the time to build a firm foundation on the Lord. Faith is not something we are born with or wake up with one morning. It’s something we must take the time to develop and strengthen, to nurture and grow. We must be ready in all seasons to share the love of Christ with others and to live in a way that honors Him.

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