There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven-
A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.
The Bible says there is a time appointed for everything. Two of the appointed times are to plant and to uproot. To me these represent a look at seasons from an agricultural point of view.
A Time To Plant
When something is planted the whole intent is to provide a crop, cover, replace, or to add beauty. In Biblical times most likely the purpose was to plant food for survival.
I think of a time to plant is very intentional. We see unintentional planting in vines, flowers, trees and ground cover that grow on their own without being planted by man.
The planting described in Ecclesiastes 3 was an intentional act. It was an act that required three specific thoughts for planning that would yield the right harvest. The planting had to be planned correctly with the thought toward the desired harvest.
Plant for a specific return
What was planted would be the first consideration. If the desired harvest is tomatoes, then you plant tomato seeds. If you want corn, then you plant corn seeds. If you want watermelon, then you plant watermelon seeds. The seed will bear what was planted. They would also need to determine how many seeds to plant depending on the yield of the number of people that needed to be fed.
Plant at a specific location
One of my favorite parables Jesus told is the parable of the sower found in Matthew 13. There Jesus describes four different kinds of soil where seed has been scattered – the path, rocky ground, among the thorns and the good ground. I could go into great detail about what happens to seed when planted in these different areas, but suffice it to say that the good ground is where seeds have the best chance to grow and mature into healthy plants.
Plant during a specific time
Lastly you have to know when to plant seeds. Almanacs and old wives tells give a great amount of speculation into the correct time to plant certain plants. You can plant too early and the spring frosts might damage the plants, or if you wait to late the summer heat will bake plants that are not yet matured. So depending on the crop there is a window of opportunity to give the plant the best chance for growing and maturing correctly.
A time to uproot
Another way to say in common English terms would be a time to harvest. Some plants you just take a portion of the plant (like blackberries), and others you uproot and take the whole plant (like lettuce).
Knowing the correct time to harvest a plant is important as well. A plant might hurt our stomach if we harvest before a plant is fully matured. On the other hand if we wait too long to harvest the yield will either spoil or be eaten by insects and animals. Here again there is a specific season to harvest depending on the crop.
Planting and uprooting into relationships
I think these lessons we see in agriculture can parallel to the interactions and relationships we have in everyday life. We have to be sensitive to the right time to act or say something to a person. We have to be sensitive to the season people are in, and how we interact given the outcome we desire.
Too often I see people, and myself, say something to somebody with the right intention. However; the consideration of the whether it was the right time or season to act is not always considered. These times of planting and harvesting into a relationship should be carefully considered.
On the good side of uprooting is the harvest of a loving relationship with someone. Where the actions you both have planted into each other multiply a return – a relationship where trust and servanthood benefit each other.
You also know there are times when you have tried to plant into a relationship and it just will not mature. In those cases I think we need to either accept it will never get deeper, or try to patiently invest time and listening skills to develop the relationship.
Be mindful of the seasons in life and you will reap a bountiful harvest!