One of the biblical principles of shmitah is the idea of letting the land lie fallow. Like I mentioned before, there are a few different elements of this principle that I’m trying to let inform and instruct me this year.
One of those is the idea that I wanted to be more cognizant of my connection with the land. For those who lived in the land of Israel, especially the historical culture that was more agriculturally centered, the disconnection from regular agricultural engagement would have been startling. I want to try and notice this as much as possible this year, and I’m still not sure how and where it will show up. So far, I haven’t had many reflections this year because of the winter seasons and the fact that I haven’t been out in the dirt very much yet. But spring is almost upon us!
Another aspect that would have been even more glaring was the trust involved in not planting or harvesting for the year. One of the ways I pursue this trust is to release the work of fundraising for the year. The closest thing I have to a harvest is “harvesting” support for our ministry. I find some sense of security in the work I know I put in, and the results I entrust to God. But to release that work and trust in spite of it is always a challenge.
This year, the challenge is not as great as the last time shmitah rolled around. Seven years ago, I was sweating bullets, worried that the money would stop coming in to support the work we do. It turns out that the year in question back then was the strongest financial year to date; this probably should not have surprised me that God provided just as He promised He would in Torah. I suppose this year has been tempered with that experience and maturity, which might lead to a future post about obedience and maturity and how faithfulness bears its own fruit.
I do have to say that another part of me feels like it’s cheating, because the team around me has grown and I know they are doing their parts to help out. I’m trying to exchange that feeling for a sense of gratitude and recognition for team.
Finally, I have also exchanged my regular rhythm of newsletters (a form of “field cultivation,” perhaps) for this written space of reflection. It continues to bless me, forcing me to reflect on my journey and experience, as well as some of the things I’m hearing as I listen.