Lying In A Hay Bale
A couple of weeks ago, I placed a really huge round bale of hay in the pasture for my cows. The grass had already begun to sprout up and the pasture was beginning to glow with a little shade of green. I had misjudged the amount of hay needed over the winter and had made a frantic search to find more. I needed one more bale to get them through until the pasture would supply all they needed.
As soon as I put the bale out, as a matter of fact, before I could get it off the trailer, the cows were munching with great intensity. They needed the hay. There was a little grass, but it was a lot of work with such little return feeding on the pasture grass. It was much easier and much more satisfying for them to stand at the bale and eat their fill.
Since that time, the pastures all around have begun flourishing. The rains came and delivered the much awaited moisture and the grass began to grow. Now, from time to time, you will see the cows and the horses munching a little grass here and there, but they always come back to the hay bale. I remember thinking yesterday as I watched them, “Why on earth would you want to eat from an ole stale, dusty, dry bale of hay when there is so much green grass all around you?” What made the picture worse is that all three of them had laid down in the pile of hay, lifted themselves to their knees and sat right there almost all day eating from the easy place. It was as though they were too lazy to stand up and eat the way cows are supposed to do. I studied this picture intently. I thought to myself, “There must be a lesson here somewhere. Look at it more closely! God will show it to you.” As I watched these ole cows, the lesson came screaming out of the hay bale. “Why should we work for it when you just roll it down to us?”
Suddenly I thought of all the years of preaching and all the Bible classes the members of the Body of Christ have participated in over their lifetime. I thought of all the rolls of hay that had been put out, and how many of the members were still lying in the hay, very relaxed, munching gracefully on the remains of what was left over from a previous feeding. Just like the rolls of hay to the cows, there is a food value there, but why would we choose that when we have pastures full of the fresh green grasses of Spring growing up around us?
Like water, we like to travel the road of least resistance. We have so many time saving devices in our homes that we spend most of our time trying to remember what they are and how to use them. We count time as an optimum and generally take every short cut available while constantly learning more.
You know yourself it is easier to peal potatoes out of a sack than it is to plant, care for and dig them from a garden. It is easier to buy a dozen eggs than it is to feed and care for the chickens who would lay them for you. It is easier to wash your hair with water from a faucet than it is from the trough of a hand pump. We are a people who crave convenience.
Sunday after Sunday we stand around the hay bale hoping to get enough to fill us for another week. We leave the bale and wander back to our homes, to our jobs and carry out all the responsibilities we have, and slowly weaken because a once a week feeding is not enough. We often long to get back to the hay bale. We ponder what we ate last Sunday, hoping to get even more nourishment from food that’s already been spent, while all the time, we ignore the green grass that grows all around us.
Hay bales are good. They are even necessary. But, they are only good and necessary in the absence of better grazing. You will never find the nutrients in that which is processed the way you will find them in that which is fresh. If all you ever fed cows was hay from a hay bale, they would eventually die. They would literally starve to death. They simply cannot get all they need from that. When Churches come to believe that they can be well fed and feast on a balanced diet by gathering around a hay bale on Sunday, they too will suffer from malnutrition and eventually die. There is not enough there.
Instead of laying around the hay bale every Sunday, why don’t we start grazing from the green grasses found in every page of the Bible? As a matter of fact, if the hay bale were taken away, we need to learn to survive on what God has planted all around us. Are we ready for that? Would you starve or would you live? Think about it!