Billy Tea, Cool Shade, and the Inevitability of Work to be Done
I knew better than to step through those rails while they were working. The frantic pace of the yards were warning enough. The thundering of hooves, the bellowing of cattle, and the curses of hard men were enough to keep me at bay. But it didn’t last forever.
If I timed it right, if I arrived with moments to spare, I would hear the welcome sound carry from under the cluster of trees throwing shade at the far end of the press, “Smoko!”
That was my cue.
The sound of work fell away leaving only the familiar lowing of cattle to welcome me. When the work ended, the yards became my domain. The acrid smell of sweat and burnt hide filled the air, but I embraced it. In fact, I revelled in it. It was a small price to pay for the thrill of playing where my heroes filled their long days.
That was my childhood; waiting patiently for the stockman to take a break so I could amuse myself pretending to be something I longed to grow up into. But it never lasted long. With one eye turned toward those shadows where the men reclined by crackling fire and a boiling billy, I readied myself for the inevitable shuffle of boots, the settling of hats onto sweating brows, and those last hurried gulps of overly sweetened tea. Their break was done. The day was not yet spent. Much was yet to be accomplished.
Decades have passed since those days. I didn’t grow up to work the land like those men. But those images have never faded. Men who worked hard and rested well still shape my thinking, even to the point of moulding the purpose of this site, The Ploughman’s Rest, where the grace of the gospel so saturates each page that the weary might find rest, and those with bent legs may find strength to rise again and enter the field God has called them to.
Christian blogging is a crowded field—which is great. I rejoice in the fact that many are giving their talent and time to raise a voice for the gospel and the good of the church. Of course, the temptation exists to see this multitude as competition. In a data saturated age, grappling for screen time and post engagements is an ever-present pull. But if you have somehow found yourself here, then my prayer has been that you would find the gospel of grace so compellingly beautiful that you would be drawn to Christ in such a way that my efforts in pointing you there would soon be forgotten.
Matthew 11:28-30 — “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
To work much and rest little is foolish, as is resting much and working little. But working in God’s field, tilling the soil and planting the seed, even though it draws great drops of sweat and sometimes even blood — then, weary from your labour, falling into the gentle embrace of Christ to find your rest — that is wisdom. That is joy.
Maybe it is time you put down your tools to sit in the shade of Christ—you have laboured and toiled too long without rest. Come and find rest in him.
Or maybe you have sat long enough, there is still much more to be done my friend. After all, can you not hear your Master’s voice? — “Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.” Let the gospel of rest strengthen your weary legs to take up your tools once more and spend yourself for the greatest cause of all.