Sweden – Linda Johnson

“Lessons I Learned in a Hayfield,” very appropriate title to a good old Sunday sermon here in Douglas County.  It’s a familiar passage, Matthew 9:35-38.  Jesus is going about teaching and preaching in the cities and villages and healing all kinds of diseases and illness.  He stops only for a moment and all of a sudden it hits him.  He looks out on all of these people that are following him.  And his heart is moved with compassion.  

Imagine looking out on a sea of people.  All of them burdened with life’s problems. The battle to keep going is a daily struggle. Being beaten up by just trying to survive and feeling so low that one comes to the brink of hopelessness. Jesus saw that. People who had no hope and still struggling. It went right straight to his heart. Then he says it: “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; pray that the Lord of the harvest will send laborers into his harvest.”

Right now hayfields are being cut, raked, or baled. A hayfield on a hot day has its own brand of miseries.  I remember as a kid being so hot my long-sleeved shirt was wet with sweat. When a breeze did come my way, I was grateful for the momentary coolness even if it was from my sweaty shirt.  The mixture of dirt, dust, sweat, seeds blowing in the air and grass would stick to your neck. It would itch like crazy. The haying had to get done and there was nothing to do but put up with it.

Square baling was what everyone did back then. If all went well and nothing broke down (of course, there was always something, a busted belt, a flat tire, etc), once all the passes had been made and the bales were sitting in the field, it was time to load them. When I was little, my job was to run along beside the trailer and straighten up the bales so the conveyor would pick them up. Then, the boys on the trailer would stack the bales.  When that trailer was loaded, we’d move on to the next trailer. No one quit until the haying was done. Just because it was getting dark made no difference.

Haying was, and I imagine it still is, hot, tiring, dirty work but it had to be done. Winter feeding depended on it. When the job was done there was a sense of pride at how much had been accomplished. Knowing that we were secure for another season felt good.

I imagine Jesus looked out on his field of souls and knew the work that needed to be done. He knew what it was to harvest and bring in the bounty.  So much to do, so much to do. He knew he couldn’t do it alone. He needed a crew. So many souls, pray the Lord will send forth laborers to bring in the harvest.

You can visit us at our website swedenchurch.com. It is complete with audios of   the sermons. Pastor Strong can also be heard on our radio program which Sunday mornings. Better yet, come and hear Pastor Josh live on Sunday mornings. Service begins at 11 a.m. (Sunday school is at 10 a.m.) and evening service begins at 6 p.m.  Bible study is Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m. except for our business meeting which is held the second Wednesday of each month.  Sweden Church is east of Ava about 10 miles on Highway 14 and then left onto 14-219 a quarter-mile.