In Matthew 9, Jesus is speaking to his disciples about the growing Kingdom of God and makes a reference to something that any resident of Western Pennsylvania is very familiar with…knowing the changing seasons. In some parts of America, the annual seasons are more static. In this part of the country, though, we have four very distinct seasons. And because of that, it’s always important to be aware of the season you’re currently in. After all, you’d look pretty funny trying to shovel snow in August or going swimming in the middle of January. Instead, when you clearly understand the seasons, you are able to make the most of each season you find yourself in. You’re able to ski in the winter, and go bike riding in the summer. While each season has it’s ups and its downs, every season presents its own opportunities.
And with this understanding of seasons, Jesus makes this amazing statement in Matthew 9:37-38:
“Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.””
You may have read that verse a million times and most will focus on the importance of going out to reap the harvest, but what if this verse isn’t just about ‘reaping a harvest’…what if it’s really about being aware of your season to lead well? Let me explain.
If you’re at all familiar with farming practices, you would know the harvest only happens during a certain season each year. In one season you plant, another you water, and then another you finally harvest. Each season has it’s place and is necessary for the next incoming season.
When you translate this idea to the context of leadership, it’s not just a nice approach to leading, but it becomes pivotal to leading well. This is because no matter how talented a leader is, no matter how persuasive or charismatic, a leader cannot create a season. God is the one that establishes the seasons, and he has created leaders to guide others toward maximizing each season. Just as a farmer doesn’t fight the seasons, but responds to the season, so a leader shouldn’t fight the season they’re in, but respond accordingly. Thus, in a season of harvest, leaders reap the harvest, in a season of planting, they prepare the fields to plant well.
This is why a leader’s prayer life and ability to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit isn’t just a good idea, but it is crucial to leading well. A leader leads at their best when they grasp the season God has them in and the season God is leading them toward. When a leader can identify their season, they can properly lead their team, equip their team, and make the most of each season God leads them into.
You see, seasons are not isolated periods of time, but every season builds upon the previous season. The winter is crucial to kill off weeds and underbrush to prepare the way for the new growth of spring. The summer is key to the growth of plant life that leads toward an abundant fall harvest. Each season a leader leads others through effectively than prepares them for a prosperous following season. So with all of that said, here’s the big idea:
A leader’s greatest role is to identify the season God has them in, and to lead others effectively through it.