Leviticus 25:20 – You may ask, "What will we eat in the seventh year if we do not plant or harvest our crops?" (NIV)
It's called "crop rotation" or "fallow ground" back in Scotland. That's when a farmer allows the land to rest for a year and refresh all the nutrients in the soil. In times of hardship and economic crisis, it's a hard thing to maintain, because the temptation is to put in an extra crop that will produce ready cash. But the land needs to rest; it requires a fallow year, otherwise, the soil exhausts itself and produces nothing of substance.
For the Israelites, leaving the land fallow was more of a test of faith than good crop management. It was not only a year to rest, but it was also a time truly to depend upon God and believe His Word. For six years, the people relied upon God's mercy and bounty, as well as their own hard work and farming skills; but in the seventh year, they totally depended upon the providence of God. It was a great reminder to the whole community that they were ultimately sustained by God, and not by their own resources, strength, and talents.
I guess there are two lessons for us today: firstly, instead of going helter-skelter all of the time, we need to stop, rest, and relax for a while. It won't be easy, and our spirits will get restless, but if we take sabbaticals from the stress we experience, we will produce better results in our work, faith, and relationships in the long term. Secondly, we all need to remind ourselves that everything we have, every resource we possess, and every talent we display comes from God. There is no such thing as a self-made person in the Christian world. Whatever we do, whatever we achieve, whatever ambitions we fulfill, whatever we accomplish, it all comes from God. If we forget to offer Him the glory and praise for all of these benefits, then we need to ask ourselves if we really have faith in God. He is the provider of all our blessings; He is the sustainer of all that we need.
Prayer: Lord God, we place You at the centre of all our blessings, gifts, and resources. We acknowledge You as the One who brings these blessings to us. Remind us each day that You are the One who provides our daily bread and sustains our everyday needs. Keep us grateful for Your blessings, and help us to remain dependent upon You. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.