May 10, 2022 - Good morning! It’s Tuesday, May 10.
(This devotion originally ran on August 7, 2020)
I'm a city boy. I was born in Texas' biggest city, Houston, and spent my first 30 years there. Then I lived in Dallas for the next 15. We've become a nation of urban dwellers - in 2020, only 20% of Americans are "country" people. In 1900, 60% of us lived in the country or in small towns. In 1800, 95% of Americans lived outside of big cities. It's not surprising, then, that many of our Christian hymns, largely written before 1900, include words and references related to agriculture and rural life.
One of these "country" hymns was one of my favorites, growing up in the big city. Its' chorus features the lyrics, "bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves, we shall come rejoicing bringing in the sheaves." I was attracted to this song because of its' singable tune and lively rhythm. But I remember being confused by the lyrics. What the heck were "sheaves"? And why were we so happy about bringing them in?
Well, for the last 10 years I've lived in small towns, so I am now well versed in agricultural vocabulary. (OK... I googled it). A "sheave" is a stalk of bound together wheat. And the hymn writer, Knowles Shaw, was inspired in 1874 by reading Psalm 126:6.
He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
And so, God wants us to have a heart for those who are lost, those who are seeking Him. He knows that this kind of concern can sometimes produce a heavy heart. But He promises, finally, a time of joy.
Going forth with weeping, sowing for the Master
Though the loss sustained our spirit often grieves
When our weeping's over, He will bid us welcome
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves
Meet you back here tomorrow,