Most plants pull nutrients out of the soil. Repeated growing of certain crops can literally exhaust the soil over a period of time (see Lk 13:7, RNAB). Every few years, farmers rotate a crop of leguminous plants, which replenish the soil with nutrients, to make the soil more fertile.
Jesus calls us to be good soil, bearing thirty-, sixty-, or a hundredfold for Him (Mk 4:20). Part of being good soil for Jesus means being exhausted soil for Him (Lk 13:7). It's exhausting to deal with a person who repeatedly sucks the life out of us. This may happen at a prayer group, soup kitchen, parish committee, workplace, or even at home. We repeatedly give this person love and attention (or they pull it out of us). We're used up, exhausted, and they keep coming back for more. We look for improvement in this person as a result of all we've given them, but we see none. We say to God, "Why should they keep cluttering up my life? Why should they go on exhausting me? For years now, I've given them my best, and I've seen nothing come of it. I'm going to stop exhausting myself for them" (see Lk 13:7).
We think we're exhausted, yet Jesus says to give them another year (or more) of loving care (Lk 13:8). Jesus is like the good farmer who rotates crops to enrich the soil. He knows when we have more to give and He knows the right time to replenish us when we're exhausted for Him. Focus not on nourishing yourself but rather on being good soil for Jesus. Trust in Him to nourish you in His time.
|Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Imprimatur ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2011 through November 30, 2011.
†Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Bishop-Elect, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 26, 2011 (for 10-1-2011 through 11-29-2011) and May 26, 2011 (for 11-30-2011).