For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break 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 away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
In 2023 we will transition from our word of focus for the year, “grow” from 2022 to our new word “go.” Growth is a necessary process for any church or individual, and healthy growth will eventually lead to action. The two words are intertwined. Imagine planning a trip: you pack your bags, fill the car with gas, make reservations at a hotel, and even pull up the directions on your GPS, but instead of heading out on the road you simply sit in your own living room and continue making preparations forever. All the planning and growing in the world are pointless unless you act. The opposite is also true. Jumping into your car with no money, passport, phone, or plan is certainly action, but all sorts of troubles will arise when you get a few miles down the road and realize that you don’t know where you’re going.
God wants us to grow in his word and to act on it, too! He wants us to understand his will and work his will in the world. It’s impossible to do one without the other. Perhaps, as the passage suggests, there are seasons of our lives that are concentrated more on growth or more on action, but the two are crucial parts of our faith. God calls us to action, so as we grow we are compelled to go!
Words of the Ecclesiastes, Marc Chagall, 1960