Pastor’s Desk September 10th

Scripture Passage:  “And he spoke a parable unto them, saying,  The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?  And he said,  This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou has much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.  But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night your soul shall be required of you: then whose shall those things be, which you have provided? So is he that lays not up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”   Luke 12:16-21
Dear Friends,
     This time of year brings back memories from my past.  I have spent a significant amount of time in barns of various types throughout the years.  (So when someone asks, “Were you raised in a barn?” I can answer with all honesty, “Well, Yes.  Yes I was.”)  There were three basic types of barns I was familiar with.  There were cattle barns, hay barns, and tobacco barns.  Most of the time one barn was a combination of all three.  When I worked for someone with a little money, there would be three distinct barns with three distinct purposes.  These were the days before round bales of hay, so most hay were square bales that were stored in a hay loft.  It got up there by one of two means: pitching it up there by hand, or putting it on a hay elevator.  This was always hot, dusty, and itchy work.  Then there was the tobacco barn.  The barn on my home place was nothing more than a cattle barn with sheds built around it.   We hung tobacco in the stalls, in the hay loft, and in all the sheds.  It was difficult work because every “nook and cranny” had to be filled.  When I hung tobacco in my first tobacco barn it was wonderful because of how quick and effective it was.  For you city slickers, I want to describe the process of hanging tobacco.
     Each tier of a tobacco barn is called a run.  These runs are sectioned off with poles or two by fours placed on their edge.  They are spread apart approximately four feet from each other.  The next run will be about five to six feet above the run you are standing on.  This pattern continues to the top of the barn.  The tallest barn I ever worked in had six tiers.  In a tobacco barn the first run needs to be ten feet off the ground to get the tractor and wagon under it.  That puts the top run thirty-five to forty feet in the air. Here is the process.  The man on the wagon will hand a stick of tobacco up to the man on the bottom run.  A stick of tobacco contains four to six stalks of tobacco spaced out according to size and weight. The man on the bottom run is spread out straddling between the two poles with his feet.  He has to turn loose with his hands, bend over and reach below his feet to receive the stick of tobacco from the man below.  All the while he has to balance himself and the tobacco in his hands while stretched out between the two poles.  He then reaches it to the person above him who relays it to the top of the barn.  Tobacco is hung from the top to the bottom in over lapping layers so it will dry and cure.  So the man on the bottom run handles every stick, while the man on the top run only handles one or two.  The man on the bottom is ten feet off the ground while the man on the top is forty feet off the ground.  The man on the bottom receives any air that is stirring, while the man on the top bakes against the metal roof.  The man on the bottom fights the dust and the dirt.  The man on the top fights the wasps.  This work is dirty, hot and stresses your muscles, but I always chose it over being in the fields.  This is not written to condone or condemn the growing of tobacco, only to share my experience.
     Like the parable Jesus shared, most farmers started out small enough.  Few were ever satisfied the amount they were allotted, so they began buying up other people’s allotments at a fraction of the cost.  With additional allotments came the need for more and bigger barns.  The additional allotments brought in more money which fueled the desire for even more.  The mother of necessity became the father of greed.  Jesus taught we need to be content with His blessings and use what he has given us for the benefit of others rather than storing it up for ourselves.  The end result is a treasure than cannot be taken away and may be passed from generation to generation.  Don’t be a fool!
In Christ,
Pastor Johnny