Clearing the barns

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Nearly nine months ago, only two weeks into my church sabbatical, I found these verses in Leviticus 26:

I will look on you with favour and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you. 10 You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new.

It resonated for me then.  My journal records:

This ties in so much with what I have been saying lately.  Things which were a Yes last year are now already Nos, in a process which feels to be going too fast to handle.  Things which are good, which are harvest, are being cleared out to make room for the new harvest.

When I wrote these words, I’d just come back from a five day retreat, a wrestling with the cost of saying so many Nos during 2013.  I’m sure no one told me that pursuing the Yes which Jesus wants to say through my life, saying that Amen, would be so overwhelming.  You see, as new avenues for ministry opened up during 2013, I had been starting to say No to other opportunities which only twelve months before had been unbelievable gift to me, ministry opportunities and occasions for personal development which I’d not believed would come my way for years.

And things had been faster than I was ready for.  God’s favour, the fruitfulness, the increase – it was more than I could store.  There I was, enjoying the last year’s harvest, a harvest which was more and of better quality than I had expected for this season of my life.  I was feeling blessed beyond measure.  In good biblical fashion, I was eating and drinking and enjoying the fruits of my labour.  (And, of course, working like a crazy woman – because I’m not very good at sitting back and enjoying!)

Yet I could not long ignore that a flood of increase was still piling up at my barn doors.  And in my heart I felt that clearing out stores of provision which were still good to eat made no sense.  Why not hold on to this blessing, continue to eat of last year’s harvest and somehow also take delivery of the new harvest?

Except there wasn’t room in my life to store it all.

So some of it I gave away.  I did my best to share last year’s harvest with those whom I knew would enjoy it.  Then some parts of it I hung on to.  And, in conversation with my coach a few weeks after this journal entry, I knew that God had an agenda for those bits of last year’s harvest too.  That perhaps they too could not continue long as Yeses in this new season of harvest.  So I held those things in prayer and waited, my barns bursting.

Things have changed again in 2014.  Another of my long-term Yeses is changing.  It’s not become entirely a No, just a different kind of Yes.  And the change has come because of new harvest.  A new Yes which wasn’t even in my mind as an imminent possibility when I journalled in response to this text nine months before.

I wonder, as I reflect on this text and these recent months.  If I had not cleared my barn of last year’s harvest, good though it still was, and if I had not said all of those Nos, would this latest Yes have even come my way?  And will I also hold this Yes lightly enough that I would obey if ever he calls me to clear my barns again?

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