And the Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall keep a sabbath to the Lord.'” (Leviticus 25:1-2)
During the Sabbatical year, the land of Israel was to lie fallow and be “released” from any type of cultivation. While we might be inclined to wonder why this was so important in temporal terms, let us consider that the message within this instruction may be as simple as this: the land was and is not the absolute possession of man — the land belongs to God. Therefore, if the Sabbatical year was intended to counteract the natural inclination to see the land as “mine,” then it should provoke us to recognize the land as being a gift from the Creator.
Then and now, the Almighty provides resources that benefit His people; in return His people are to acknowledge Him. If this interpretation is on target, then the Sabbatical year teaches us that life is about denying our inclination to obtain material possessions even though we live in a natural, material world. Rather, we are to sacrifice natural gain in favor of spiritual growth. So as it is with every God-given instruction, a spiritual principle is embedded within the literal command.
Considering that the “earth is the LORD’s” and we all formed from the dust of His earth, we must also conclude that this life is not mine or yours. As it is with the land, this life is also on loan from the Creator, designed ultimately to perform His Will. He gives us talents and skills that we can put to use to make our lives better, nevertheless, those talents and skills are intended, primarily, to serve Him and His purposes. So then, let us remember the words of Paul as it relates to our work: “Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (Colossians 3:23).
Blessings and Shalom,