“The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields.”
Steve and I have a very small yard, but in the tiny backyard we have an apple tree and a couple of grape vines. We’ve done our best over the years to be good vine tenders … to prune back the vines in January or February until they seem unlikely to produce again because there is so little cane left. But this year when the time came to prune the vines neither of us had time or heart to do so.
It was a rainy winter and pruning time came so close upon the heels of the year anniversary of Becky’s death … we just didn’t manage to get out and do the work on the vines that we knew we needed to do. We anticipated a year of poor production or poor quality grapes because of our neglect. But what a surprise we’ve had at this year’s harvest! We’ve never had such an abundance of sweet, sweet grapes. I’ve harvested grapes many times and shared them with the church’s pre-school, with neighbors and with family. In spite of all of the harvesting and sharing there is still an abundance of fruit on the arbor that I’m not sure how we will use! It is amazing!
I’ve been thinking about this and wondering if this abundance without following the recommended pruning process puts the lie to what I’ve believed about pruning and productivity. I think I’ve come to a different conclusion though. It feels like the abundance we are experiencing is a Jubilee experience granted to us in God’s grace and mercy. We didn’t have heart or time to do anything ourselves that would guarantee provision of fruit at harvest. But now, here we are harvesting with no prior effort just receiving and sharing a sweet and delicious gift from the hand of God.
So, in a way, I guess the natural law of sowing and reaping has been broken, but I think it was through the provision of a good God who loves us and provides for us when we are unable to provide for ourselves. God’s sweet provision that I couldn’t have made for myself has happened over and over again during the days since Becky died. Provision of comfort and peace, joy in sorrow, strength in tears, beauty from ashes – God was good before, He is good today; God is good all of the time – abundantly good!
“From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.” John 1:16