There was a song that reached #1 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart in December 1965 by The Byrds called Turn! Turn! Turn! You may remember the song, but will surely find it familiar when you listen at the link below. The song was written by Pete Seeger and the lyrics are adapted word-for-word from the Book of Ecclesiastes, written by King Solomon over 5000 years ago. The song was popular during a very turbulent time in history and typically evokes vivid memories by those old enough to remember it. The song includes 14 items relating to “a time for everything.” We will look at some or all of these over the next few weeks and see how each them applies both to life and work —- and, how an understanding of them can help us be more productive in what we do. The lyrics are included below. Today, we look at the theme:
“A time to plant, a time to reap that which is planted”
Those of you familiar with farming or gardening understand this well. There is a proper time for planting. You cannot plant vegetables in the harsh cold of the winter and expect good results. And, you cannot plant today and expect a harvest next week. There are proper times both for planting and harvesting.
Likewise, there are proper times for the things we do in our lives or in our work. And, perhaps just as importantly, obtaining a harvest takes hard work and patience. Parents of toddlers know this for sure! You work hour-by-hour, day-after-day, and year-after-year to teach your children right from wrong, how to do things, ways of thinking, values, and skills to be productive adults. As someone once said, “The days are long, but the years are short.” Eventually, there is a payback when the children have grown into self-sufficient, productive, loving adults (yes, that day will come!). Yet, they didn’t become that way overnight. You cannot expect good manners on day one. It takes time to reap the harvest.
Similarly, activities in the workplace must be timely and they often require patience. Knowing when to push and when to wait is a skill some never learn. Driving to the end is hard – especially that final 10% to the finish line. Knowing that you have good things coming in your career, but having the patience to realize that they may be 5 or 10 years down the road is hard. Working diligently on a project for 5 years, but understanding that someone else will get the credit when it finally ends is challenging.
The key thing to remember is that there will be a day of harvest. Perhaps, that day will be years from now. Perhaps, you will reap what others planted and watered. It could be that you’ll never see the end of your good work occurring today. But the point is that we must understand that persistence, patience, preparation, praise for others, and active participation all work together to drive the final good results we hope to see. I am personally thankful for those in our past that had the foresight to develop products that save lives, create processes/systems/procedures that govern how we work, and give me their personal attention to ensure that I had a chance to be successful. Today might be a day of sowing seeds for the future, making an impact on the life of another, or it could be a day we reap the harvest sewn by others. In each case, giving the very best we can offer should be our goal and our attitude.
Have a terrific and productive day! Thanks for all you do!
Turn! Turn! Turn!
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, a time to reap that which 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 cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, 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 of war, and a time of peace.