I have always loved being outside. Particularly at the onset of winter. The ground takes on a particularly unique quality as it begins to freeze.
Growing up in America’s heartland, being outside in late fall did not mean playing under the grand bows of massive evergreens – or running on the cushion created by years of its falling needles. Playing outside meant climbing over rough mounds of recently harvested, and now plowed, fields resting for the winter.
As the freeze arrived, each plowed mound developed a top layer of “crunch.” It was as if God dropped an enormous sheet of packing bubbles – just for me – and I loved it!
I can still remember crunching along one early morning with my dog and pausing at the edge of one recently plowed field. From where I stood I stared at another field that looked so very different. I puzzled for a few moments trying to understand why one was plowed and the other stood neglected, grown over, and with an old refrigerator lying oddly discarded at the base of one of its ditches. Two fields – the same owner – one so fruitful – one quite neglected.
I know that it sounds odd that as a kid I would think of such things. I’m sure it was a little strange for my parents as well when I asked about it, but that morning my parents gave me one of my first lessons in economics. We talked about subsidies, farm lobbies, surplus, and waste. I know – quite invigorating. The talk seemed to make sense to adults, but not to me. I simply couldn’t understand why people would get paid to intentionally not turn something ugly, unuseful, and neglected into fruit? Why wouldn’t one drive a tractor a little farther if it might feed another family?
Now, I don’t want to wade any deeper into government policy. However, I will dive into God’s desire for us.
As vivid as the picture in my mind is of that neglected field with its rusting remains of an appliance, I see so many neglected fields in real humans today. God has given each of us stewardship over vast fields – and far too many of them lie fallow.
Yes, our fields are rarely made up of dirt. Instead they are comprised of far greater materials; relationships, skills, networks, ideas, dreams, time, and the list could go on. These are fields that God intends to use to change the world. I am convinced that the next great movement of God in your life and in our generation will come by turning our attention to unplowed fields.
Where is your unplowed field?
Sow righteousness for yourselves,
reap the fruit of unfailing love,
and break up your unplowed ground;
for it is time to seek the Lord,
until he comes
and showers his righteousness on you.