Seeds of Faith, Sheaves of Joy

"Going forth with weeping, sowing for the master
Tho' the loss sustains our spirit often grieves
When our weeping's over, He will bid us welcome
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves"

From the hymn “Bringing in the Sheaves,”words by Rev. Knowles Shaw (1834-1878)

My mother’s family has a strong heritage of hard work and faith. Her first ancestor in this country was a Calvanist Christian, a Pilgrim who arrived on the Mayflower. His sons and grandsons became Presbyterian ministers who preached to colonists and soldiers during the American Revolution. Eventually, a many-great-grandfather brought his family by covered wagon from the East Coast to settle a small farm in the Midwest.

Stories handed down through the generations made their way to me, and when winter sets in, I imagine my pioneer ancestors gathered around a fireplace in their one-room cabin seeking to survive the winter’s cold.

Before late November, the time when we celebrate Thanksgiving, my farmer ancestors brought in the sheaves. There was no money for a reaper, so they harvested wheat the old-fashioned way, stooping down, gathering, and cutting a handful at a time with a short handled sickle. They raked the cut grain into sheaves, which were bundles tied together using several twisted stalks of wheat. After they harvested the grain, there was no better way of separating it from the straw than with a flail. They cleaned off a space of level earth, packed it as hard as possible, and, laying the sheaves of grain there, they pounded it with the flail until most of the grain was beaten out. Then, my family gave thanks to God for this grain that would feed them through the long, sharp winter.

Their days of Thanksgiving gave way to hardship. The story continues that the family left the farm when winter departed, but without their young son who must have died between the days of Thanksgiving and the first signs of spring.

That I exist today a faithful Christian, having learned my faith from my mother who learned from her mother and grandmother—faith passed down through generations—is proof that my ancestors survived their heartache and stayed strong in the Lord.

Psalm 126:6 says: Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them. My ancestors left their farm weeping, but they brought with them wheat seeds to sow. The heritage of my faith is proof that their dark days gave way to light, and less than a year after losing their son, they rejoiced and thanked God, once again, as they brought in the sheaves.

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the grains of faith that sustain us in winter, and for seeds that turn into sheaves of joy.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers.
May you be blessed with an abundance of faith and joy.



2 comments:

quietspirit said...

Jean:
Thank you, dear friend, for sharing this message with us. May you and yours have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jean -

Although my heritage of faith doesn't go back quite as far as yours, I'm thankful I was raised in a Christian home. What a precious gift for a child - being taught about Jesus from the cradle!

Blessings,
Susan :)

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