But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. (2 Timothy 2:20–21—NKJV)

Seasons of the year have a lot to teach us concerning the seasons of life. As the fall air turns crisp and the leaves change their color, the thought dawns on us that our life is about to change. Though the commute and the job hours remain the same we must conform to the changing season if we want to be able to accomplish anything with our free time.

Women begin to decorate their houses in anticipation of the hospitality demands of the fast-approaching holiday season, favorite holiday recipe cookbooks begin to make their annual appearances, to-do lists begin to sprout and grow with a life of their own, and there is a different urgency to plan ahead than prevailed during the summer months.

Men, on the other hand find that some of the outdoor chores begin to move indoors. What could be accomplished outside must take a back seat to workshop projects. Hobbies change with the seasons. Tools are laid up for the winter and room is made for the indoor projects that have been piling up while the warm weather beckoned. For most of us this entails a good fall cleaning of the work space to get prepared for a new season!

God calls us to treat our Christian lives in a similar fashion. Though spiritual seasons rarely have heralds as flamboyant as autumn colors, they are not without their signs. There are outward clues. Everyone’s life changes on an annual basis, therefore his spiritual needs must also follow suit, just as the school year brings different challenges than the summer break. At the very least, our lives change every six months. Health changes bring adjustments, chronological milestones change our horizons, new employees at work bring new needs into our world, and even our marriages have their seasons. It is every believer’s job to recognize the spiritual seasons and opportunities that surround him and be prepared to take advantage of every moment for the glory of the Lord.

The church age saint’s goal has not changed through twenty-one centuries. We, like Paul, ought to claim the words found in Colossians 1:19–20, “Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” Now, we know that real perfection does not happen until Christ ushers us into glory, but the truth still stands: we are to labor to present every man perfect (Colossians 2:10 4:12, and Ephesians 4:13). Our sensitivity to each individual’s seasons has but one purpose: to labor to equip others to be vessels ready for the Master’s use. Of course, this lifelong task begins in our own individual life.

Ephesians 5:15–16 reminds us, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Readiness is required of all of God’s servants as the foolish virgins without enough lamp oil found out (Matthew 25:6–10). Readiness to spiritual work has eternal significance. Personal cleansing for usefulness starts with the work of our Savior upon the cross and it is to be continually maintained throughout our pilgrimage, as our passage from 2 Timothy 2 points out. 2 Corinthians 6:17 to 7:1 reads, “Therefore, ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.’ Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 1 John 3:3 also states, “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” Remember 1 Peter 1:15’s words, “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.” As the Old Testament often illustrates, cleanse the “temple of God,” abandon every idol, and serve the True God alone. Personal preparedness for holy usefulness is a high priority so that God can use you at an instant when He is pleased to present an opportunity in its season.

Are you spiritually prepared to be used by your Master for His holy tasks (Titus 3:1)? Are you sensitive to the seasons in the lives of others? Do you strive after perfection for the Lord? Trust and obey.