At the beginning of a new year there is always a tendency to look back and take stock of the past so that we may better navigate the year ahead. Many of us use this time to make promises to ourselves to try harder or live smarter, and others see this as a chance to begin anew, to start fresh. While many in America breathe a sigh of relief that the “fiscal cliff” was averted, for the majority of us life is tough as we try to make ends meet after the worst global economic meltdown since the Great Depression.
Some leading economists predict a “bounce back” and “recovery” this year as they speculate about “idle capacity” in “untapped markets”. While I cannot make any predictions on the economy like the prophet Hosea I know that our security is not in material things but as we put our faith and trust in the Lord. Hosea, like the economists calls us to; “break up the fallow ground”, make use the “idle capacity” and “untapped potential” in our lives (Hosea 10:12b).
As we take stock of our lives I want ask all individuals and churches if you are finding the true blessing of God in your life, work and witness? If not, maybe you are standing on fallow ground. Let me explain, fallow ground is good soil which has known the plough. It might have been sown and borne crops a long time ago but has now been left and is compacted and hardened only producing weeds and thorns. In other words, it is ground with great potential that is barren and underutilized.
If we wish to get a full measure of God’s blessing this year we have to respond to the challenge and urgency of Hosea’s message to “break the fallow ground; for it is time to seek the Lord”. It is only as we earnestly call out and depend entirely on the Lord that we will be empowered and our faith renewed to discover glorious days of opportunity which will bear much fruit.
In the natural scheme of things, “we reap what we sow”. If we sow wretchedness we will reap iniquity but if we sow righteousness we will reap mercy. Let us not wait for a time of personal, national or global crisis but break the fallow ground today by recognizing that it is; “time to seek the Lord”.
This is a new year. The changing of the calendar may be arbitrary or symbolic but let it also be a reminder of the ultimate renewal – the only renewal that is guaranteed, that anyone who belongs to Christ has “become a new person” and with that “the old life is gone and the new one has begun” (II Corinthians 5:17).
It is my prayer that we and our loved ones will have a fruitful and blessed 2013.