The right time

Rev David Reid

11.6.2022 | Mission in Ireland, Farming & Rural Life

For farmers there is a routine to life that can be interrupted by many different things – more often than not it is the weather - especially when it comes to haymaking. In his blog, Rev David Read takes us back to an age not so long ago, when June was the month when the hay was ready. It was a time not to be put off, for the farmer didn’t know what was round the corner, more days of sun, or summer showers? As David says, 'In farming, as in faith, timing is important.' When it comes to the latter, God says, “…now is the day of salvation.”

June used to be an exceptionally busy month on many of our farms for one reason – haymaking.

Later in the year the local papers carried many advertisements with the message, ‘June hay for sale’, often with the grammatically dubious comment ‘Never seen rain’. Making hay was hard work and completely weather dependent. Farmers would watch the weather forecast looking for enough dry days to win the hay. Then the mowing would take place followed by several days of turning and tedding until the hay was ready to be baled.

The mystery of the ‘knotter’

On that day the baler would be hooked up and greased ready for its annual moment of glory! It would begin its first circuit of the freshly rowed-up field with its distinctive sound, soon to be interrupted when it missed tying a bale or two. Then attempts to diagnose the problem and understand that mystical bit of equipment known as the ‘knotter’ would follow. Normally after one or two teething problems the job progressed smoothly.

The whole family would be involved with the younger children climbing over bales, or rolling them together, ready to be picked up. Many a young farmer gained their first experience of tractor driving - steering the tractor with its trailer round the field as the bales were loaded.

Of course there was always the added attraction of a pause to share tea and chat in the field. Farmers knew the truth of the old adage, ‘make hay while the sun shines’. In other words, when the conditions and the time is right – get on with the job!

In chapter 3 verse 1 of the Book of Ecclesiastes it says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…” a Bible teaching with which every farmer would agree. There is another quotation that comes from the New Testament which we would all do well to note. The Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 6:2, “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation.”

Time to respond

We live in what is known as, ‘the day of grace’. We are able to read the Bible and hear the Word of God preached and taught. The great Gospel message of full and free salvation through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour is widely proclaimed and we have many opportunities to respond. The time to respond to the Gospel message, to repent of our sin, and trust in Jesus - is now.

When the hay was ready for baling no farmer would say, “I’ll put it off until tomorrow.” The task was urgent and needed to be taken on as soon as possible, in case the rain came. These are days when those who know Jesus have the opportunity to share Him with others. Days when those who don’t yet know Jesus can begin to trust in Him. It can be easy to put off responding to Jesus when He calls us, believing that we have plenty of time.

The problem is that none of us know how much time we have left. Life on earth is uncertain and can end at any moment and when it does, it will be too late to come to Jesus. In farming, as in faith, timing is important. God says, “…now is the day of salvation.”   

Rev David Reid is minister of Ardstraw and Douglas Presbyterian Churches in West Tyrone. He is married to Valerie and they have four children and two grandchildren. David was a full-time farmer for 18 years before being called to the Ministry.

His blog appeared in a fortnightly column entitled ‘Good News For the Countryside’ in today’s Farming Life, where people from a farming background, or who have a heart for the countryside, offer a personal reflection on faith and rural life.

You can look at other blogs in this series here.

If you would like to talk to someone about any of the issues raised in this article, please email Rev Kenny Hanna, PCI’s Rural Chaplain at or call him on 07938 488 372.

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