When I was young my grandfather, Big Daddy, would hire someone with a mule to come and turn his garden spot in the spring. In reality, Big Daddy was about as big as my little finger so I’m not sure how we came to call him that; he was a little over 6 feet tall but probably didn’t weigh but 120-130 pounds. Anyway, I watched this man and his mule prepare the garden spot for planting. Over winter, all kinds of weeds and left-over plants were in the garden area and the ground was hard. Just in case you’ve never seen plowing with a mule here’s a demonstration. https://youtu.be/DpWfkV_rw_A Notice the difference in the soil before the plow has turned it and after. The plow digs in pretty deep; and it looks like it would be a hard job, especially plowing large fields like the farmers did prior to tractors and powered equipment. What’s missing from this video that I remember are the commands the “plower” gave to his mule(s). Obviously, if he wanted them to go he could pop them with the “reins” (probably not the correct term); if he wanted them to stop he would say “whoa”. If he wanted them to go to the right or left he would say “gee” or “ahh” and I can’t remember which command went which way. Maybe some reader knows that and can leave us a comment explaining it.
What we see in the demo and what happened in Big Daddy’s garden was technically not “breaking new ground”. Breaking new ground would be preparing a spot that had never been planted before and would be a more difficult task. It’s pretty obvious that the field in the demo had been previously planted as had Big Daddy’s garden. Whether it is new ground or previously planted, the soil still has to be prepared; preparation precedes planting.
The Bible is full of agricultural analogies to living as Christians. Part of Adam’s curse for disobedience was to grow food “by the sweat of your brow” and the ground would produce thorns and thistles (Gen 3: 17-19). In Mark 4 Jesus uses the parable of the sower, the parable of the growing seed, and the parable of the mustard seed to teach about the Kingdom of God. Jesus also told His disciples “the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few” (Matt 9: 37). These are just a few that came to mind.
In our lives, new experiences will often lead us to say “we’re in uncharted waters” or “we’re breaking new ground”. And we all have experiences that renew or replenish our relationship with the Lord; not breaking new ground but preparing for a new season. Someday, everything will be new. “I am making everything new!” (Rev 21: 5) and “No longer will there be any curse” Rev 22: 3). But for now, we must continue to “work the land”.