Fallow Ground: Fallow Makes Fertile

“Sow with a view to righteousness, Reap in accordance with kindness; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the LORD Until He comes to rain righteousness on you.” -Hosea 10:12 I grew up in small-town North Dakota. My father, who was a rural preacher, grew up on a farm. Each Sunday afternoon we would have to go for the “Sunday drive” around the countryside to “look at the crops.” I rarely saw the weekly changes that my father found so interesting. It was during those rides, however, that I learned what different crops looked like, what a “dirty” or “clean” field was, and the ongoing effects of too much or too little rain. We also talked about the farming practice of “fallow fields.” Before the current practice of field-design planting, farmers would rotate crops in a field year-to-year in order to prevent depleting the soil of certain nutrients that was caused by growing the same crops year after year. Yet the wise farmer, my dad told me, let a field go fallow every few years. Although there was no income from that field for that year, the benefit of “letting the ground rest,” as he described it, enabled bigger yield crops in the following years. Fallow ground becomes fertile ground. “It’s just like everything,” he said, “Performance is always better after a rest.” This summer, for the first time in my 24-year ministry, I am taking a Renewal Leave. For three months, June 4 – Sept. 2, I will not be engaging in any pastoral duties at Forest Hills Church, and I will be attending worship elsewhere during this time.


The Rest of the Story


Have you even been in the middle of a good book?  The characters are captivating, the dialog is snappy, the plot is as thick as ever.  It’s so good it’s tough to put it down.  But, of course, life calls and you must insert your bookmark and turn your attention elsewhere.  Finally, at the end of a long day you decide to finish up the chapter you’ve been working on.  You head to your favorite chair in the living room right next to your reading table.  Confusingly enough, the book is not there.  You are not sure where you left it.  You check the bedroom, the kitchen counter, even the backseat of the car.  Still nowhere to be found. 
Your book is gone.  You were smack dab in the middle and now your book is gone.  As much as you would love to finish the story, you are now unable.  You feel frustrated and uncomfortable leaving something so great incomplete.
What if we were to look at our faith life as a book? How far along in the story are you?  Do you find it to be riveting or does the story of your faith put you to sleep?  How often do you put time into reading?  How much do you look forward to getting through another chapter?
God is writing his story upon our lives.  But what he has written we need to read and engage with and make a part of our lives.  For so many Christians, faith is an intellectual decision to believe in Jesus.  Our conversion becomes the end of our journey.  The truth is, once we are saved and trust in Jesus as our Savior, we are only halfway through the book!  God is inviting us to live into the rest of the story. 



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