Today is the Beginning of Tu B’Shevat: An Ancient Call to Replenish Your Roots
One of the lessons that has been echoing in my life lately is simply this: Just because it’s open on the calendar doesn’t mean that it’s open. In other words, a date or time-slot being empty doesn’t mean that I’m free or available or should fill the slot. Sometimes I’ll peek at our Google calendar and think—well, we’re free that night so we should have people over! Not realizing that’s the only free night we have all week.
I’m slowly learning the importance of open spots on the calendar—that allow me to replenish my roots. It turns out that this idea of replenishment is woven in the fabric of Scripture.
In Leviticus 19:23-25, God tells his people not to eat a tree’s fruit until the fifth year; the first three allow the tree to bulk up the amount of fruit and those that bloom in the fourth are given as a tithe to God. By having a collective date as every tree’s birthday, the Jewish people found they could more easily keep track of their tree’s ages.
This date is Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish New Year for trees. This year, the trees’ birthday begins on the evening of Tuesday, February 7th and ends on the evening of the 8th.
A young tree doesn’t have the root structure or the limb support to provide a healthy harvest of plump juicy fruits. By giving a space of three years before gathering the first crop, God gives ample time for the tree to build up the strength necessary to support fruit. In the long run, the tree will be healthier, live longer, and yield a bigger crop of delectable delights all because the plant had time to bolster its roots.
What if God is calling me to be like the tree, to slow down and replenish my roots? Maybe in the stillness I’ll find God beckoning me to drink deep in the waters of his love. Maybe in his tender embrace I’ll be reminded of the ripples of his glorious presence throughout creation. Renewed, refreshed, and strong again I will once again lift my limbs, and as I do notice that the entire time I replenished my roots I was bearing fruit.
What activities tend to replenish your roots as a leader?
What stops are you placing in your calendar as you lead others?