One year ago I wrote what turned out to be the most viewed post to date on Wellspring of Life: 2014 – The Year of Double Portion. Naturally, it received a huge uptick in views at the beginning of the new year; but it was one of the most frequently viewed writings throughout 2014 as well, with another notable increase the last few weeks of December.
Along with me, you lived the 365 days with which we all began. So, I’d like to pose to you the question I asked of myself with regard to The Year of Double Portion. What happened?
There’s no cynical tone insinuated here, folks. It is a legitimate question that bears examination. Which is part of why I write what I write, teach what I teach, coach as I do, and encourage with challenge and exhortation as I am compelled by the Spirit of God.
As 2015 dawned (meaning I woke up after six hours of sleep and couldn’t drift off again), I picked up with the Lord the conversation I had been having with Him the previous few days…
I need and want to write a post today for the New Year. What would You like to say?
I could really use that opening thought, Lord. The first sentence would be good…
‘Revisit 2014 – The Year of Double Portion. Then keep writing, right where you left off. The message I’m releasing has not changed, nor is it by any means finished. There’s more in Our heart.’
How do I address that with our readers? Especially the ones for whom 2014 wasn’t so great? In fact, downright hard, full of loss, hardship, sickness and disease, unfulfilled hopes, and a seeming double portion of crap? Or dung, if you prefer the biblical term, Lord.
It wasn’t until several hours, a (shared) pot of coffee, and a hot shower later that the cloud cover started lifting and clarity began to form.
We live too much by the calendar. It struck me in the shower that the message of the double portion remains, even though we ran out 2014 with the last square box of December 31. For those who tossed an actual calendar in the trash with a grimace, or heaved a sigh of welcome relief when 2015 appeared on your smart phone – may I encourage you to stay in the journey with me?
Even though I was already into many months of writing Vineyard Days at the start of 2014, I could not have known when I wrote The Year of Double Portion where, prophetically, Vineyard Days would be at the year’s close. Vineyard Days has taken a much-longer Selah (over two months) than I anticipated or desired. When Holy Spirit is in control, though, the timing He orchestrates makes sense in hindsight.
In late autumn, I left us having traipsed out to the vineyard for some lessons in the pruning process and what it means to go through days of reduction. For anyone who is serious about their relationship with the Lover of their soul, there will come a time when He presses the issue of being reduced to just Him and you. Period. There is nothing so life-awakening as allowing and participating with Him in the very act of being personally reduced. This is the sacrificial action He longs for that we may truly reign in life. To not yield our will to His is to allow the death-life to rule.
Those who do embrace His reducing are the very ones who will rebuild and restore and renew that which has for so long been devastated within, even for generations. One result is becoming tenants of His mercy land and learning to walk and work the way of the Husbandman, with the help of His Holy Spirit. Being first partakers is the notable difference between working for Him and working with Him.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. Isaiah 61:4
There is, however, another aspect to the producing of a double portion. It has everything to do with our question of what happened, for double portion in the Hebrew means repetition, duplication, copy, and double amount.
This is where we come face to face with our examination.
In a field, uncultivated (fallow) ground produces little to nothing. No matter how many tractors we may navigate around the acreage, unless one of them has a blade that goes deep, turning up the soil, exposing the rocks and planting suitable seed, we’ll come to season’s end with an empty basket on our arm, wondering what happened?
In the same way, an untended vineyard may produce copious amounts of leafy foliage that gives the appearance of healthy growth, but when the grapes are to be harvested, there is little fruit to be found.
Where the cultivating and the tending have been taking place, there is good reason to believe there will be fruit, even as Jesus promised a crop yield and fruit bearing of some a hundredfold, some sixty and some thirty. (Matthew 13:8,23)
In your personal trek through 2014, what happened? What did your double portion look like? An evident increase of life-giving fruit, or repetition of a disappointing harvest? Or a mix of the two?
As we embark on 2015, the promise of double portion remains unchanged for it was spoken by the One who never changes. But make no mistake; it begins personally within. The double portion is in keeping with our responsiveness to Him.
It is of His grace and mercy that He works within us to will and to do of His good pleasure. (Phil. 2:13) He longs for the fruitful double portion even more than we do. For the double portion is His life within, manifested through our life without. His righteousness springing up within, with the fruit of our lips, praise. Double portion in all its glory.
For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations. Isaiah 61:11
May 2015 be a hallmark year of your spiritual activity of reducing, redeeming, rebuilding, restoring, and renewing that which has laid in ruins for so very long. The double portion follows, like dawn after thick darkness.
You can trust the One who never changes.
Still the year of the LORD…