22Jul20 - Preacher Diary
Blamed on the Weather
Too Risky to Try
The weather is not always a reliable teller of time, of the timeliness of a time. Weather forecasts are intended to guide us to prepare, not to surrender. Sometimes, rare opportunities have been missed because a weather forecast or weather observation was taken to mean ‘time to sit back,’ or ‘too risky to try.’ King Solomon put it this way: “He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap” (Ecclesiastes 11:4, KJV). The New Living Translation says, “Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. / If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.” The Living Bible seems rather blunt: “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.”
Suitable or Convenient?
The problem is not in ‘observing’ the wind or ‘regarding’ the clouds. Solomon’s concern was with what one does or does not do therefore; with failures blamed on the reading of the wind and the clouds. If every planting or harvest had waited for ‘perfect conditions,’ civilisation wouldn’t be where it is. What is good might not always be convenient, and suitable time is not always convenient time. Ask the woman who has been through the maternity of childbirth.
The 3 Options
Solomon’s admonition raises three propositions with regard to weather and human response:
- sowing and reaping – in spite of the weather,
- not sowing and not reaping – blamed on the weather,
- sowing but not reaping – because of the weather.
The underlying assumption is that there is sowing and reaping; that it takes sowing to bring about reaping; that harvest should not be expected where planting was never done. Unfortunately, not all who could have sown sowed, or did it when they could have. The ‘weather’ was to blame – for a prime proposal forever missed, an opportunity lost, an investment expired, a friend now far or dead.… Does any of that sound familiar?
The weather will not always seem fair, yet suitable time does not have to mean convenient weather, for a season could be suitable without being convenient, or convenient without being suitable. It was not convenient when David confronted Goliath, but that inconvenient time was most suitable for his destiny. The world might otherwise have never heard of David, and he might also have missed his access to the throne (1 Samuel 17). If Jesus had thought to interpret timeliness by convenience, He might have joined His tired disciples to sleep than pray in Gethsemane that weary night before Calvary, and might have been in that costly convenient slumber when Judas invaded with the mob that could have killed Him before the cross (Matthew 26). It seemed convenient with King David to plot the overthrow of Uriah his captain and take Bathsheba the wife; he had the power and means to do it, but was it suitable? (2 Samuel 11-12).
Solomon’s caution also highlights the possibility of investing precious seed-labour only in due season to forfeit the ready harvest for ‘unfavourable weather conditions’ that it was possible to confront – at the cost of convenience – if one did not succumb to the allure of ease. Sometimes postponed opportunities never return, and seasons of planted investments are wasted to one windy day or darkening cloud in the sky. Planting alone does not guarantee harvest. Wet legs and determined hands could be crucial.
Not all with the potential have always sown, not because they doubted their ability, but because they thought the weather said that they could be wet outside; that some ‘next’ time was the ‘best’ time.
After labouring to sow, do not lose your harvest to frightened feet shackled by the warmth inside. Weather forecasts are intended to guide us to prepare, not to surrender. In that harvest could be your seed for another planting season. Dare to dare the wind, and see the clouds from a different angle. The rumbling thunder could be sending a welcome, not a warning. Amen.
From The Preacher’s diary,
June 30, 2020