3/9/07

Preparing the Soul


My friend LL recently posted another agricultural concept over at Seedlings in Stone, this time on the practice of fallowing. We usually think of allowing a field to go fallow as doing nothing to it: letting it rest. In actuality, a farmer still conducts activity in that field; it is just not focused on producing a crop but on restoring nutrients and improving soil structure.

As I ponder this post and what it means to my life, I see that whether you are planting a crop or allowing the field to go fallow, you are working the field to be productive. It is not a time of idleness in either case. The end goal is the same. As we live in a society that expects immediate results, we are often unwilling to take the time to tend our field if it will not produce a crop. We see many examples of people skimming over appropriate preparation so they can get the “doing” of an activity or project. Sometimes it works out okay, but often without the proper foundation things eventually fall apart.

The other thought I had about this was perhaps my goal as a Christian is to focus on being fallow. My priority is to abide in Christ and grow closer to Him, and that restores the nutrients I need to grow and builds the soil structure I need to serve. It’s his job to do the actual producing of fruit in my life. I’ve thought about this concept a lot recently. I have heard many speakers and read many books that basically say to pick a fruit of the Spirit and work on improving that area of your life. While I do not disagree that it is important to be aware of how those fruits are manifesting themselves in your life, I do not believe we are supposed to work on them. We are told to abide in Him and HE will produce the fruit. We don’t have the ability to produce the fruit on our own. (And as my friend Sarah pointed out, did you ever notice that it is not the “fruits” of the Spirit, plural…it’s fruit, singular. They can’t be separated.) So maybe we should leave the crop production up to God and work on being fallow, so that when it’s time to produce a harvest, our soil is ready.

Photo: Countryside in Rwanda (2004)

7 comments:

L.L. Barkat said...

I am enchanted with your final thought, about working on being fallow. I know I brought this up in the first place, but you've taken it to another level. And now you've got me musing.

I'm also especially delighted that you expanded the thought about a time of being fallow not being a time of idleness. Maybe the work is simply a different sort. (And, I suppose, this can end up feeling like rest.)

I like your pic too. Have you gone to Rwanda?

L.L. Barkat said...

oh... and after I put in your link on Seedlings, I wondered if "preparing the soul" was a play on "preparing the soil" ... if so, very subtlely amusing!

Craver Vii said...

I like what you said about the fruit of the Spirit. Plus, I like to point out that it's called the fruit of the Spirit, not the fruit of the Christian.

spaghettipie said...

LL - I've really thought a lot about this particular concept lately, so thanks for your original post. It's been fun to read the discussion. And yes, I was trying to have a little play on words - glad someone caught it!

Craver - Yes, another good point! I am amazed at the number of places that we seem to be taught that it is the fruit of the Christian...

spaghettipie said...

LL - Oh, and yes. We went on a six week trip to Africa in 2004 and Rwanda was one of the several places on our itinerary.

Charity Singleton said...

Found you through LL's link -- lovely post. You've added a very helpful dimension to the idea of abiding in Christ. I find this to be such a difficult concept when I am so caught up with doing. The connection to the fruit of the spirit was also insightful.

Craver -- Good point about it not being the fruit of the Christian. This is a very misunderstood area of Christian discipleship.

spaghettipie said...

Charity - Thanks so much for stopping by. After reading all of your insightful posts, I feel honored you stopped by. I've been considering the fruit of the spirit concept for a while now, and I realize that we just try to make being Christian so complicated with so many "rules" about the way we're supposed to "be". Bottom line is simple: We're to strive to know Him and enjoy Him.