My friend LL recently posted another agricultural concept over at Seedlings in Stone, this time on the practice of fallowing. We usually think of allowing a field to go fallow as doing nothing to it: letting it rest. In actuality, a farmer still conducts activity in that field; it is just not focused on producing a crop but on restoring nutrients and improving soil structure.
As I ponder this post and what it means to my life, I see that whether you are planting a crop or allowing the field to go fallow, you are working the field to be productive. It is not a time of idleness in either case. The end goal is the same. As we live in a society that expects immediate results, we are often unwilling to take the time to tend our field if it will not produce a crop. We see many examples of people skimming over appropriate preparation so they can get the “doing” of an activity or project. Sometimes it works out okay, but often without the proper foundation things eventually fall apart.
The other thought I had about this was perhaps my goal as a Christian is to focus on being fallow. My priority is to abide in Christ and grow closer to Him, and that restores the nutrients I need to grow and builds the soil structure I need to serve. It’s his job to do the actual producing of fruit in my life. I’ve thought about this concept a lot recently. I have heard many speakers and read many books that basically say to pick a fruit of the Spirit and work on improving that area of your life. While I do not disagree that it is important to be aware of how those fruits are manifesting themselves in your life, I do not believe we are supposed to work on them. We are told to abide in Him and HE will produce the fruit. We don’t have the ability to produce the fruit on our own. (And as my friend Sarah pointed out, did you ever notice that it is not the “fruits” of the Spirit, plural…it’s fruit, singular. They can’t be separated.) So maybe we should leave the crop production up to God and work on being fallow, so that when it’s time to produce a harvest, our soil is ready.
Photo: Countryside in Rwanda (2004)