Joseph Herrin (11-11-2012)
Cutting Grass Old School
Cutting grass provides time to reflect on a great many things. This is especially true if you are cutting grass the old fashioned way with no motors, no electricity, just basic tools that can be powered by man.
On the passenger side of my bus, the side the entry door is on, I had only about four feet of walkway. Beyond that the grass had been allowed to grow up in all its wild disarray. Much of it was knee high, and the weeds were more than waist high. I needed more cleared space as I wanted to tie out my dog Champ on that side of the bus, and put up an old chain link dog kennel that someone had left on the property.
Champ is getting larger now, and he is decidedly not an indoor dog. He loves the outdoors, and has so much nervous energy when inside my bus that I end up leaving him outside until it is time to put him in his pet crate for bedtime.
Some dogs also smell (like a dog), and Champ happens to be one of that breed. My family and I have had dogs that we kept indoors, and they did not smell. One of our dogs had curly hair like a poodle, though she looked like some type of terrier mix. She never smelled bad at all, and we never gave her a bath unless she had one of her very infrequent groomings. Champ, however, has smelled like a dog since I brought him home. Living in the small confines of a bus, odors are quite noticeable. Even twice a week baths (for the dog, not me) did not seem to help. Consequently, I have determined that Yahweh intended Champ to be an outdoors dog. Surely this is why He had someone leave an old kennel, ten feet by ten feet, here at this remote rural location where I am now staying.
Pictured above is the area I desired to clear. You can see where the mowed grass ends and the unkempt portion begins. The reel mower I recently purchased won’t cut such dense and tall grass. I needed another tool to attack this job with, so I began looking into purchasing an old fashioned scythe. I did a bit of research and found some videos online that made cutting grass with a scythe appear like child’s play. I love the video that loads on the Scythe Works page. It is an eclectic mix of 1960s Blowin in the Wind, flaming scythe on top of a tractor, and a rare young woman who is handling a scythe like an old pro.
It should be noted that the young woman in the video is using an Austrian style scythe. These are very different from the American scythes that have a reputation for being difficult to use. The Austrian scythes are quite a bit more expensive, so I contented myself with looking at American scythes. I figured I could tough it out since I had only a small area to clear.
Amazon sells the new scythes. You have to purchase the handle, which is called a snath, separate from the blade. The blades are made different lengths and curvatures depending on the usage they will be put to. It requires a different blade for cutting grass or hay than is required for clearing brush. I ended up finding a scythe for half the cost of a new one by searching on Ebay. I purchased the following unit.
I also purchased a sharpening stone to keep the blade sharp as I am working. Although I anticipated the American scythe being considerably more difficult to use than the Austrian one, I wasn’t quite prepared for reality. The scythe was a real hack and slash job. Having adjusted the handles correctly, adjusted the tilt of the blade, and getting the blade sharpened locally before using it, it still did not perform near my expectation. I even watched videos to see how to swing the scythe with the proper motion. Still, the job was sheer butchery. Nevertheless, it cut down and pulled up enough of the really thick undergrowth that I was enabled to get my reel mower to do the rest. It required about a dozen passes over every piece of ground with the reel mower to get the job done.
First Day’s Progress
I had only a couple hours the first evening to work on this task, but I was able to double the cleared space alongside my bus. The next day would be the get-er-done day. Yahweh provided me with a glorious Georgia Autumn day. The weather was perfect for working outside. The sun was shining. The temperature was mild all day long, and there was a light breeze blowing.
A half day, and a few blisters later, I had enough area cleared to set up Champ’s new home. I had a canopy that was the same size as the dog kennel, so I provided Champ with a roof to his new home to keep the rain off of him.
Champ’s New Home
I received some real satisfaction getting this patch of ground cleared using my old school tools. I am constantly seeking to understand what the Father is speaking through such experiences. We serve a God who delights in communicating through everyday events. He can teach men about their call as disciples of Christ through their profession as fishermen, or teach a man how to be a leader of His people through tending sheep (Moses, David, etc.). I therefore anticipate the Father speaking to me regularly through the mundane experiences of this life.
In the Scriptures Yahweh compares the flesh of mankind to grass.
A voice says, “Call out.” Then he answered, “What shall I call out?” All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of Yahweh blows upon it; surely the people are grass.
I have always enjoyed the look of a well kept lawn. I once thought it would be wonderful to live beside a golf course with its mowed fairways and manicured greens. Yet the lives of most saints resemble the rough that is outside the fairways, being not too unlike the unkempt, unruly yard alongside my bus before it had been cut.
The Bible declares that the flesh of man must be cut away that a spiritual being might arise. One metaphor used in Scriptures is the illustration of scourging.
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.
The Roman scourge consisted of a wooden handle to which strips of leather were attached. The leather had pieces of sharp metal, pottery, or other material attached to it. The scourge would be lashed across a man’s back where the sharp objects would bite and grab hold of the skin. As the scourge was pulled back the skin would be pulled off in ribbons.
Although this is a gruesome experience, it is an apt parable for that work the Father must accomplish in each one of our lives. The flesh must be removed, and its removal always involves suffering and pain. This is the reason most Christians’ lives resemble an unkempt field of grass. They have rejected suffering, and therefore they remain fleshly.
The most common illustration in the Bible for the removal of the flesh is the process of crucifixion. As the scythe and the mower are used on grass, the scourge and the cross are Yahweh’s chosen instruments to perform the work of getting man’s flesh in shape.
Now those who belong to Christ Yahshua have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
As I worked on the yard alongside my bus I had to coax myself repeatedly to endure a little bit more. My back was sore, my arms were turning to jelly. I developed blisters on my right hand. Yet, I kept thinking about how nice the yard would look, and how useful it would be, when I finished the job. With a vision of the end result in my mind, I pressed on and got the job done. When I was finished I sat down in a chair and looked with satisfaction on what had been accomplished.
Such a parable should need no explanation. However, I will comment on one aspect of this labor. The Father has not led me to purchase a gas mower, or weed-eater, or other power equipment. I sensed Him guiding me to get these old fashioned, labor intensive, but proven tools to get the job done. They are decidedly “old school.” And here I am living in a forty year old school bus. My entire experience is decidedly old school.
As I reflected on this I sensed the Father saying that the church must return to the old and proven instruments of His choosing to get the body of Christ in shape, prepared for the return of Yahshua, in these last days. The cross has been rejected by the people of God, but there is no acceptable substitute. There is suffering ahead for Yahweh’s sons and daughters, yet there will also be great grace along the way. He would have us all to keep the vision in mind of the transformation He is bringing forth through experiences of suffering and pain.
II Corinthians 4:17
For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison…
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.
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