We live out in the country where one of the wonderful smells of the summer is fresh cut hay. I used to sit and watch with glee as my uncles and grandfathers would cut the hay around their and my other family members houses. One summer I was finally old enough to try and help. I had watched for years, but I had never actually been the one on the tractor doing the work. Needless to say, I was excited. I also understand now that I was probably a bit annoying. I would call my grandfather almost every night to find out when they were going to start and where I needed to be. I would also watch the 10-day forecast and make sure my grandfather knew what every Doppler radar in the entire Southeast was reading. I my mind, I was helping him plan the best time to cut in order to avoid the rain (you know…because I had so much experience at it). It seemed like there was always rain expected a day or two out, so my advice was always that we needed to wait until there was no rain in the forecast.
After my grandfather probably got tired of listening to the new guy try to make all the plans, he finally told me something that I have never forgotten. He said, “Son, if you don’t quit watching the weather, we’ll never get the hay cut. Sometimes you just have to cut it. If it rains, then we’ll deal with it.”
I’m not sure if he realized it at the time or not, but he was actually applying a Biblical principle that I think we all need to understand.
“Give a serving to seven, and also to eight, for you do not know what evil will be on the earth. If the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth; and if a tree falls to the south or the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie. He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.” [Ecclesiastes 11:2-4]
How often do we use the fear of possible difficulties to stiffen our work and enthusiasm? As Solomon said, things are going to happen. Rain will fall. Trees will come down. There will be things happen on this earth that are completely beyond our control. However, a wise man does not allow these things to prevent him from getting work done. If a farmer spends all his time standing outside waiting for the wind gauge to stop spinning, he’ll never sow seed for fear that it will blow away. If he constantly watches the clouds, then the harvest will remain in the field. In this same way, I was too afraid to get started cutting hay because I was worried about the possibility that something might not be perfect.
Maybe you have this friend that you know needs to hear more about the gospel, but you are afraid that it’s possible he may get offended if you start the conversation. Maybe you need to pray before you eat a meal, but you’re afraid it’s possible that someone might think you are odd. Maybe you know you should teach a Bible class, but you are afraid it’s possible that you won’t be able to answer all the questions.
There will always be storm clouds on the horizon. There will always be the threat of something to go wrong. There will always be the possibility of failure. If we spend our time focusing on these possibilities, then we will forever talk ourselves out of getting started. God does not expect us to simply throw caution to the wind and make unintelligent decisions, but there comes a point when you just have to do what needs to be done, regardless of what could go wrong. You have to take a step outside your comfort zone and risk failure in order to achieve success.
In other words, “if you don’t quit watching the weather, we’ll never get the hay cut. Sometimes you just have to cut it. If it rains, then we’ll deal with it.”