As Spring returns to our world, many find reason to hope once again that some sense of normalcy will return to our lives. Coming out of the fog of our winter of discontent, passing the year mark of the first real shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is cause to reflect. I believe there are lessons to be learned.
What lay fallow in your life this past year?
What am I talking about? Let me ask it another way: What work was set aside during the pandemic due to your inability to do it in person or because of your own sickness or struggles?
Have you considered the possibility that God allowed things to come to a halt for a season so that when taken up again, it might prove more fruitful?
We don’t talk about fallow fields much these days because most of us are not farmers, but also because most of us also don’t know how to stop and evaluate what we’re doing to gage the effectiveness for the cause of Christ. We press on, never resting, because we have this perverted sense of what it means to serve God with all our heart, soul, and mind.
Let’s go way back to the early days of the establishment of the Law of Moses to get some perspective. God was talking to Moses on Mount Sinai, telling him what he should then repeat to the people:
When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the Lord. For six years you sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a sabbath of rest, a sabbath to the Lord.Leviticus 25:2-4 (NIV)
After six years of tilling, planting, and harvests, the land needed a break! He did the same for us on a weekly basis, but the land had perhaps a higher capacity for production. Still, I find this directive telling for our day. While some of us might have the discipline to actually observe a sabbath each week, I believe most of us do not take a longer sabbath from other duties, whether ministry or work related. We start teaching a Bible study, and press on, thinking no one else can do it, and wow, suddenly, you’ve served fifteen or twenty years in the same position without a break.
What do you think would happen if you took a sabbath year from that area of ministry and allowed another to step up in service? Well, potentially at least one of three things would result:
- The new person would bring some fresh insights and life into the group, allowing them to grow in new ways.
- You would be able to visit another class or become a participant for a while, filling your own tank again.
- After a period of rest, the Lord might open your eyes to a new area he where he wants you to serve, and it becomes an area of new fruitfulness.
Now think again about what areas in your life have been laid fallow by the Lord through COVID.
Will you take up the plow there again or move into a new field?
I pray that the Lord will not have to use another pandemic to lay more of our fields fallow, but we instead will work and rest according to the seasons of his Spirit’s guidance, that our efforts will be fruitful to his glory and for his purposes.
Grace and Peace