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Winter Work

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Winter Work

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Recognizing the harshness of winter, the apostle Paul curtailed his frequent travels to the churches and was prepared to do something different during the winter. “Now I will come to you . . . and it may be that I will remain or even spend the winter with you, that you may send me on my journey, wherever I go” (1 Corinthians 16:5-6 1 Corinthians 16:5-6 [5] Now I will come to you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia. [6] And it may be that I will abide, yes, and winter with you, that you may bring me on my journey wherever I go.
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, emphasis added throughout).

Winter is a unique time of the year. Plants go dormant, bears hibernate, the growing season is past, and the harvest is in. Even the festival year is over.

What do we do with these winter months? Did God create winter just for us to endure? Or is there “work” we can be doing during this time?

Without the winter months, the farmer would grow weary, and the job would become stale and less profitable.

Solomon wisely says, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 Ecclesiastes 3:1To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
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, King James Version). God, who created the seasons (Genesis 8:22 Genesis 8:22While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.
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), didn’t create time to just be endured. Let’s look at a few areas where “winter work” is necessary.

Israel was an agrarian society. Farmers then and today work hard during the spring, summer and autumn. Before the winter winds blow, crops are gathered, and preparations for winter have been made.

But what do farmers do during the winter? Do they just rest and wait for the months to pass?

No, they still work. Their winter work is necessary, although different from the rest of the year. For instance, during the winter, necessary activities like accounting for the prior growing season and tax filings are completed. An analysis of what was profitable and what is not is undertaken, and decisions are made—such as what crops to sow, what fertilizers to use—as plans for next year’s growing season are developed.

Also, during the winter, research and information gathering on new farming products, equipment, and techniques are done. There’s not much time for that during a busy growing season, but the winter allows time for more in-depth study, so that any needed changes can be made for next year.

Take advantage of earlier sunsets and more indoor time to spend time with family, have meals together, and cultivate and deepen your relationships.

A farmer is dependent on his equipment working well. During the winter, equipment and fencerows are repaired and maintained. Everything needs to be in good shape when the growing season starts.

Finally, the winter is a time for rest and renewal, to spend time with family and friends, enjoying their company and nurturing those relationships.

Without the winter months, the farmer would grow weary, and the job would become stale and less profitable.

Businesses, too, use the winter for focused work. At the home office, for example, accounting and financial reporting is a year-round process. But in the winter months we focus on budget and strategic planning for the upcoming fiscal year. Time is taken for in-depth review and examination of programs, strategies and statistics. We identify needs that will better serve the Church and enable us to fulfill our God-given mission. We assess strengths and weaknesses and seek God’s will and direction that we may make the best use of what He provides His work.

“Winter work” is a necessary part of farm and business life.

Perhaps we as individuals can use the winter months to do some “work” and analysis on our personal and spiritual lives.

“Let us search and examine our ways,” we read in Lamentations 3:40 Lamentations 3:40Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD.
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. “Consider your ways,” God commands in Haggai 1:5 Haggai 1:5Now therefore thus said the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.
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. “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith,” Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 13:5 2 Corinthians 13:5Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know you not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except you be reprobates?
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Perhaps during the winter, before the springtime and Passover arrive, we can do an “accounting” of our lives and honestly assess ourselves in comparison to standards set in the Bible. Are we where we should be spiritually? Do we feel close to God? What changes and spiritual “repairs” might need to be made in our lives?

Is our Bible study rich and rewarding and even corrective at times? Are there books and portions of the Bible we haven’t looked at in a while? Is there a topic you have wanted to look into and examine and research thoroughly? Perhaps the next few months would be a good time to do that. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16 2 Timothy 3:16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
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). We need to know the Bible and live by every word.

Consider, too, your relationships at home. Do you have the relationship with your spouse and children you should have? Perhaps these winter months are a good time to begin fixing and repairing those relationships. Take advantage of earlier sunsets and more indoor time to spend time with family, have meals together, and cultivate and deepen your relationships.

Don’t forget our Church relationships. Those are important to God, too. Do we love our brethren? Have we been sowing the seeds of friendship, concern and agape love? Are we hospitable, as God would have us be? (1 Peter 4:7 1 Peter 4:7But the end of all things is at hand: be you therefore sober, and watch to prayer.
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). The winter is a great time to be building those ties that bind us to one another.

Use the winter wisely. Don’t just look at it as a cold, dark, bleak time of year that we wish away. See it and use it as a valuable season where necessary “winter work” is done. If we use the winter wisely, we will be ready and committed for the work of springtime and the seasons to follow. UN