What if you were a farmer and God told you not to plant for a year? Like your parents, and their parents before them, your family has always made a living from the soil. You know if you don’t plant, you don’t reap.
And if you don’t reap, you don’t eat. Your family, your community, even your nation depends on you to grow a crop that will feed them for an entire year.
And God says, “Don’t plant.”
Not, “Don’t plant some of your fields,” or “Don’t plant some of your crops,” but “Don’t plant anything at all.”
How would you feel? What would you say to God?
“Don’t plant a crop, Lord? Are you CRAZY? How am I going to feed my family?”
“Just for a year,” the Lord says. “The land needs a rest, and you do, too
“A YEAR? If I don’t plant for a year, then it will be TWO years before we harvest again. You know it takes an entire season to grow a crop.”
“Do it anyway,” the Lord says. “Trust me.”
Every 50 years, the Lord called the Israelites to a celebratory year of Jubilee. We read about it in Leviticus 25. Among other things, he called for a Sabbath rest for the land. No sowing. No reaping. No farming of any kind.
Observing this year of Jubilee required the Israelites to believe that God could and would provide for them. Totally and completely. For three years, not just the required one.
He anticipated their question: “What shall we eat in the seventh year, since we shall not sow nor gather in our produce?” (v. 20).
Listen to his response: “Then I will command my blessing on you in the sixth year, and it will bring forth produce enough for three years. And you shall sow in the eighth year, and eat old produce until the ninth year; until its produce comes in, you shall eat of the old harvest.”
Do you hear what God is saying? “Trust me. Obey me. I will take care of you. Because you are faithful and obedient, I’m going to bless you so much that when the time of empty fields comes, you’ll have enough to see you through.”
Jesus shared the New Testament parallel to this Scripture: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things (everything you truly need) will be given to you” (Mat. 6:33).
Matthew 6:33 has been the plumb line for every major decision my husband and I have made in our 30 years of marriage. Unfortunately, while we’ve always owned this plumb line, we haven’t always pulled it out of our spiritual toolbox. Some days, we measured our decision with the ruler of common sense. Or the yardstick of fear. Or the tape measure of self-protection.
Other days, faith and Truth prevailed. We planted our mustard seed of faith, watered it with prayer, and watched to see God sprout a miracle. These have been the days when we’ve harvested some of our grandest faith experiences.
The anonymous donor who paid my husband’s way through college when he obeyed God’s call to go back.
The accounting decision that erased our hospital bill when the Lord told us we should have another baby.
The kind friend who gave us a computer when ours died and we refused to go into debt to buy another.
The generous church family who donated money when my husband lost his job and we trusted God to provide.
And, most recently, the generous family who obeyed the Lord’s prompting to give us a financial gift—the day we received the news that our home needed thousands of dollars of repairs after South Carolina’s historic 1,000-year flood.
We are living proof that when a Christian obeys God, he will provide for them. “Exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we could ever ask or imagine” (Eph. 3:20).
If God is calling you to obey him, and you can’t make the numbers add up, let me encourage you to step out in faith. Not presumption, mind you, but faith.
Is God calling you to quit your job and stay home with your children?
Is God calling you to serve in a ministry that’s way outside your comfort zone?
Is God calling you to surrender to the mission field?
Is God calling you to do what’s right at work, even though it may cost you?
Is God calling you to right a wrong, at great personal expense?
Pray hard, seek wise counsel, search God’s Word for direction, and count the cost. In the end, if you’re reasonably certain the Lord is calling you to take a step of faith, even when it doesn’t make sense, do it.
By doing so, you’ll plant the mustard seeds that will sprout a great faith harvest.
What about you? What do you sense the Lord is calling you to do that requires a faith step? Or when have you obeyed the Lord and took a faith step that didn’t make sense? What happened? I’d love to hear your story, and I’d love to pray for you. Leave a comment below and join the conversation.