One of the things that will shape you as an individual and as a leader is the season of life that you are currently in. Jack Hayford (of the Church on the Way, Van Nuys, California) has written an article on this subject. He saw the human journey in terms of full 20 year seasons.
Between birth and 20 was the first Winter where ‘foundation points of growth were being made in body and mind while we are still beginners in the earthly journey. The evidence of our true soul is being readied to be made.’ These are sovereign foundations! You didn’t choose your parents and you didn’t choose most of your first 20 years - whether they were good, bad or mixed.
Spring follows from years 20 to 40. In this period things that will eventually grow into fruit begin to develop. In this time many people generally conclude their formal education, marry, have children and launch their lifetime’s work. This is the seed sowing time of life, which will determine the type of harvest to be garnered in the years to come. That which is learned in these years and all that is done is part of God’s training of you. He is more interested in your development than your fruit, but young men and women want fruit! We want to succeed - but God has a longer term view.
‘I used to think’ Hayford continues, ‘that whoever coined ‘life begins at 40’ was whistling in the dark trying to console himself. But I’ve recently concluded life’s third twenty-year segment (Summer) and I can say around the age of 40 there is a distinct turning point in the life of unfolding drama. Our first fruits begin to harvest during our 40s and 50s – what we have been becoming increasingly reveals itself. For example in my 40s and 50s I found that the early years of study in God’s word returned a wealth I hadn’t anticipated. I reached and grasped for things eternal and a new depth of preaching. This is only a sample of the wealth the summer years can bring.’