Plowing and tilling

reap the fruit of unfailing love,
and break up your unplowed ground;
— from Hosea 10:12, NIV

Seems like after 63 years of life including 35 following Christ, I would have no unplowed ground in me.  But I do.

“To God, our lives are like fields that need to be worked. Once we have worked one field of change, we move on to the next plot, where He bids us to get back to work on other character flaws by tilling weed-infested soil.  Sometimes this takes more time that we’d like, but we have to keep driving that tractor back and forth across the (stingy) soil.”*

Pulled this from a daily devotional I recently started following again.  “Driving that tractor back and forth,” struck me.  Back and forth, over and over again captures the arduous process well, of working on an ingrained problem or sin. Drawing from farming, tough, unforgiving work under a hot, relentless sun...when tilling only seems to churn the dirt into dust that coats and clogs everything.  

I’ve got this “unplowed field” to somehow make ready for tilling and another “field” that is under-performing.  

While I’m resolved to toil, I discourage easily, more inclined to quit than continue.  The rough field is so set in its manner, resistant and synced to my brokenness. Ofttimes the process seems to cause more worsening than correction.

Meanwhile the underproductive field tempts me to abandon further trying because it is in fact yielding a decent crop, even if short of its potential.

The devotional draws from Biblical stories to offer hope for continuing.

“Change will happen, and the Bible gives us insight into how it happens.  Think of Joseph in an Egyptian jail. Moses in the desert. David’s fugitive years. Jonah in the whale.  Gideon in a cave. Job’s catastrophes. Elijah’s encounter with the widow. King Nebuchadnezzar’s riches-to-rags-to-revelation.  The apostle Paul’s blinding encounter with God.”*

Seeing these stores cast this context, many of my favorites, the analogy of driving a tractor back and forth, back and forth, over and over settles into me.  Guess that’s what I’m doing as well. Imagining God's watchful eye, supervising from the deep blue sky overhead is evenly oddly romantic. 

Sow righteousness for yourselves,
   reap the fruit of unfailing love,
and break up your unplowed ground;

   for it is time to seek the Lord,
until he comes
   and showers his righteousness on you
(Hosea 10:12, NIV)


1. * Excerpts from devotional “Every Day for Every Man” by Stephen Arterburn, Fred Stoeker and Kenny Luck, May 25.

2. Image source site: Tractor plowing a field