Leviticus 25: 1-17
Today’s passage is the vision of the earth in which forests, vineyards, and fields of dirt are as much creatures of God as the human creatures who exercised dominion over them, and it is a good reminder to us that we are only temporarily in charge like tenant farmers. The passage overturns all our notions about ownership of land. It is not ours, and it never was.
On the seventh year, the land itself has a duty to God that they must stand back and allow it to fulfill, and to follow a sabbath commandment in which no humans could interfere. Imagine a moment as if we all are okay to neglect our overgrown backyard and our flowerbed with a bunch of weeds. Well, humans do interfere, of course. We know why, don’t we?
Because there is hardly a human being alive who can sit and watch a field, a yard, even a flower bed, go to waste for a year. We say they are going to waste, as if their worth depended on our involvement with them, not only their worth but also our own.
We must spray; we must plow; we much fertilize; we must plant. We must work hard. We must never turn our back. Therefore, each year’s harvest must be bigger than the last.
According to today’s passage, God sees things differently. When the fields are lying fallow, when the fields are even full of weeds, or when the trees in the vineyard look really messy and need to be pruned, God does not call these “going to waste.” Maybe, God even calls them good and beautiful just as God said during the creation—"God saw everything that God had made, and behold, it was very good.” God calls these messy-situations “observing the sabbath,” and wonders why we all are so resistant to it.
Another point I’d like to draw our attention to today’s passage is that I wonder if we also relate ourselves with a neglected, unpruned, and untamed grapevine, which seems really messy. Sometimes, we are all messy. Aren’t we? And we are all struggling. Because we are all messy over the last six days, we are here to observe the sabbath.
Here is the good news for all of us. No matter how messy we are. No matter who we are. No matter how crazy we struggle. No matter how hard we work going forward to be better in our own field. No matter how stubborn and independent Texans we are.
We are not the owner of our life. Our lives are not our own. God sees us differently than the world would see us.
Thanks be to God.