Break Up Your Fallow Ground – The Sower

Planters on porch 3

 

Here’s a bit of “fallow ground” I’ve broken up. This one comes under “things I never got around to”. It’s one of Sharon’s visions she’s had for awhile: “I think it would be great to put some planters on the back porch.” As always, her vision was clear and I was slow getting there. But now, it’s done.
As I mentioned previously, I’ve made “Break up your fallow ground” the theme of my retirement. Some of that relates to my physical garden and flowers. But, the more important part considers the things of God.
Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” Hosea 10:12
Fallow ground is soil left untended that will eventually become unfruitful. It can be left that way for a purpose, like God’s command to the Israelites to let their land rest every seventh year. But, it also may become fallow through neglect or the inability to tend it (for various reasons). Breaking up physical fallow ground means removing trees and stumps, plowing it up, turning it over, adding fertilizer, watering it, and doing whatever a specific plot of ground may need to  become fruitful.
Those steps are clear for the physical garden, but, what about the things of God, the spiritual things? That’s simple to summarize – we start with the focus Jesus gave us – Love your God and Love your neighbor. But, while simple to state, teaching and expanding on what God’s Word says about the why’s and how’s of those points has been every sincere minister’s entire career (and continues to be.) So, obviously, I won’t be explaining everything here. But, I will add a few thoughts that started from a recent sermon by our Associate Pastor on the Sower. Those thoughts, along with the need to rebuild my physical garden, took me to my decision for my retirement theme.
In the parable of the Sower, Jesus spoke of different types of soil – one being the good soil, which He explained to the disciples represented a person’s heart that is ready to receive the seeds being sown (the Word of God) and become fruitful. The Lord is the one who exchanges our heart of stone for a heart of flesh and puts His Spirit within us (Ezekiel 36:26-27). God opens that heart of flesh to hear His Word. (Acts 16:14 – referring to Lydia – “The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.”) As God’s children, we can rejoice that He has made our hearts the “good soil.”
Yet, even good soil can become fallow and unfruitful. From Hosea 10:12, we see who God gives the responsibility to keep it fruitful—He commands us to work at that. From the verse, we conclude that we can harden our heart against obedience and mercy. (“Hardening our heart” is a great term for allowing it to lie fallow.) We can overlook, or ignore, that we are called to be fruitful. We can neglect the things of God (fail to seek Him.)
Just like breaking up physically fallow ground requires work, so does breaking up spiritual ground. As the verse says, we should sow, reap, break up and seek. (Good action verbs we writers are always told to use.) And, two things (among many) I’ve discovered in this first 4 months of retirement—there is fallow ground in most areas of my life, and you can’t get all those needed actions done at once. It’s a process, and sometimes a long process.
I understand retirement was a major change in my life that gave me time that many don’t have to work on this process. But, no matter what situation you’re in, you have time to begin by seeking the Lord, in the seed sown by the Sower—In God’s Holy Word. “Break up your fallow ground.” says the Lord.

Absorb God’s Word – Don’t Worry About Overflowing

Pitchfork Pots Flowing Over

Pitchfork Pots Over Flowing

Water absorbent crystals perform as the name implies: they absorb water. And they can absorb an amazing amount of water. When placed in pots with plants they slowly release the absorbed water and keep the plants hydrated over a longer period of time. Just when they need it.

Pitchfork Pot Overflowing

Pitchfork Pot Overflowing

I have used the crystals for several years but with these pots I apparently was thinking about something else and misjudged the number of crystals needed. As you see, after a 2 inch rain, the crystals expanded many times larger than their “dry weight”. They erupted over the side and took some of the potting soil with them to the ground. I’ll have to re-pot the moss roses and redistribute most of the crystals to other pots.

The sight of the engorged crystals and the thought of letting out the water as needed made me think of God’s Word – in a good way, of course. We need to absorb His Word daily – storing it for just when we need it. We don’t have to worry about taking too much in – that can never happen. Plus, if it overflows or even erupts from us, that’s all part of God’s plan to spread it around.

 Jesus said: A sower went out to sow his seed…Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.” Luke 8:5, 8:11 ESV

We aren’t all called to be preachers, but we are all called to be sowers of the Word. Fill your seed bag to overflowing so there is an abundance to sow.