We live in such a convenience driven world. Most items that we have in our homes make life easier for us. We go to the store and we purchase convenience. We are always looking for ways to make our lives easier. I know I do this. If you like toast…you buy a toaster. You don’t build a fire in your kitchen and lay your homemade bread on a metal rack and stand over the fire. You don’t have to worry about burning your house down anymore…you just plug in, drop the bread in, and wait for the pop! If you want to clean your floor…you buy a sweeper. You plug in, uncurl the electric cord, push the on button, and run over the carpet. You don’t have to grow the Sorghum broom straw in your field, harvest the crop, clean and organize the strands, braid the straw, and sweep your floor. By the way, our floors of today are even…not like the uneven hand hewn beams of pine wood they used back in the day. If you want to take a nice hot shower…you go in the bathroom. I am not going to give you steps on this one…too much information! In the old days, you had to haul the water in buckets to the wood stove. Warm the water, pour it into a big wooden tub, rub lye soap with lard all over your body, and pass the water on to the next family member down the line. They used to start with the youngest member of the family and end with Dad…poor Dad. He got all the dirt, all the used water, and then he had to dump it outside. Doesn’t seem fair…
I was remembering how my Mom and Dad watered their vegetable gardens on the farm. We didn’t have just one garden, we had several. After years of tweaking the gardening process, Dad knew just the right areas to plant each vegetable. There was the garden by the house. Mom always had her dill there. The garden by the corn crib…the potatoes. The garden behind the big red shed…the sweet corn. In the garden by the garage…there were the cucumbers. I think there was something planted just about everywhere on the farm. When you live on a farm and you have this many scattered gardens, you have to think creatively how you are going to water each one. Water is a pretty important factor in a successful bearing garden. You have to water…water…water.
I look outside my window and I have 2 garden hoses. They are already hooked up to the water source. If you drive by, you will see them all tidy and wrapped and ready to go. It is an easy process to water my flowers, wash my car, or whatever we need outside water for. On the farm, we didn’t have 2 garden hoses. We had 5 gallon buckets. The buckets that we used were good metal buckets. Dad would save the tar buckets, clean them out and they were used to carry water. These buckets were manufactured for heavy moving. Tar is heavy. The handle had a nice wooden hand roll that protected your skin while you were carrying the bucket. It was a well thought out process. Dad put a lot of strategy into running his farm.
There were 3 water sources. First, we had an iron hand pump right outside the basement door. This was one of the black cast iron hand pumps that you actually have to prime. We would start the water prime and listen for the gurgle and then pump the iron handle…up and down…up and down. Don’t lose pace…keep it steady. The first spit of water was just that…a spit. Then a full stream would follow. It would flow out fast from the spigot. You could get a lot of water this way. Second, we had the rain barrel. This was a 55 gallon drum that sat under the downspout of the chicken coop building. It was on the outside and the chicken coop had a low slanted roof. As the sweet fresh rain would come down, it would run along the downspout like Niagara Falls into the big drum. This water was great to wash your hair in. My second sister, our family beauty, swore by it. Her hair was always perfect so maybe there was something to be said for her “rain water hair claim to fame.” The third source was in the barn. Dad had cold fresh well water for his cattle. Those cows got the best drink in the heat of summer. This was also the only outside water that my brother and I were allowed to drink. We had a natural spring right beside the barn. The cows and Bethie and Billy really enjoyed that crystal clear water.
Now back to the gardening…
When any one of the gardens needed watering…you had your choice of 3 sources. This was a big deciding factor when you were told which garden you needed to tend to.
I was always happy when I was assigned the garden by the house. This was Mom’s special garden. It was perfect. There were no weeds in this little plot of God’s Earth. Mom would plant some marigolds around the edges. You had a beautiful place to work and sing and pray. Mom was a stickler about her personal garden. She was actually a perfectionist with everything in her life…but her garden was special. I would get the buckets…and head for the black cast iron hand pump. I would position the bucket under the spigot spout, prime the well, and start pumping. The water will fill both of my buckets. Now a bucket empty and a bucket full are two different stories. Buckets full of water are heavy. Dad would show me time after time how to balance those buckets so I could carry them both at the same time. This is the most efficient and quickest way to move water, he would say. That was easy for him. His hands, arms, shoulders, back, and legs were seasoned, muscular, and old farmer strong. I was a girl! But I did as he asked and tried. I would lean down and get a good grip on both buckets. I would hoist them up at the same time. Take a deep breath and start walking. I was doing pretty well for about 10 steps and then the edge of the bucket scraped my leg. Ouch that hurt! I continued walking…it did it again. Ouch I am bleeding! I set the buckets down evenly. I look at my leg…not good. I glance over at Mom…she is in the beet area of her garden…and doesn’t even know I am around. I need a Band-Aid. I go in the house. Get myself all doctored up. I am plastered with medical adhesives. Ok…back to work. As I come out of the house, who sees me…Dad. He is looking at the 2 buckets of water. Now he is looking at my leg. Unfortunately, now he is looking into my eyes.
I loved my Dad. He had high expectations for each of his children. Working around the farm was one of those expectations. I could read his mind. I hurried back to my task. I wanted to show my Dad that I understood his agenda. He wanted those vegetables watered. He wanted a good and productive harvest. He wanted a cellar full of food for the winter. He wanted me to learn how to make all this happen. I pick up the buckets and start in low gear toward Mom. I can really feel the weight of the water. It didn’t go on a diet while I was getting bandaged up.
All of a sudden the bucket on the left was lighter. I was so burdened down with my own thoughts that I didn’t hear my Dad come up behind me. He took his big farmer hand and put it over mine and took a lot of the water weight. He never said a word. I didn’t stop. We walked side by side to my Mom in the garden. We put the buckets down and I started watering the vegetables. Dad still never said a word. He turned and went back to his own task.
I never forgot that experience. My Dad covered my hand and took the weight off my shoulders. By him sharing the full weight, he was bearing my burden. But I still continued to bear his, by giving my best. We both were blessing each other by this sharing. Even to this day, I remember this lesson when I carry a bucket of water. We are to help bear each other’s burdens.
The Bible tells us to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 (NKJV)
Oh, magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together. (Psalms 34:3)
Thirty five years ago Beth and I had that verse etched into the inside of our new wedding bands. We've had our ups and downs since, but we've tried to magnify Him, and we've done it together. But today our all wise God has called a temporary halt to that togetherness and taken her home to be with Him. She is at peace and I rejoice for her. And one day, when God is ready, we will exalt His name together again. That will be such a good day. But today is a terrible day. We grieve. Pray for us.
FBC Teens are celebrating their first birthday this coming Sunday with a trip to North Canton Entertainment Center. We need a few adult drivers to help with transportation. Please contact Beth or Bill, or call the church office, if you are willing to help with this need in our teen ministry.
Time commitment will be from 3:30-8:30 Sunday afternoon / evening. Oh, and by the way, drivers and chaperones get to play laser tag and ride bumper cars and climb the rock wall, and hang from the bungees, just like the teens. Or, if you'd rather, just hang out.
Since we won't be having our annual dinner on the grounds as part of the Old Fashioned Sunday this year, how about a little Pastor's Masters golf instead? Every round is a scramble this year, and so far it's been a wonderful time of fellowship. Dust off the clubs and join us this Sunday afternoon at the Firestone public course for a great round with your brothers and sisters.
If you've walked through the new addition, you've noticed that there has been some great progress lately. The rough electrical and plumbing work is next on the horizon and should be starting any day now. Keep praying for this important project in the history of FBC.
We will be holding a work day soon, perhaps this coming Tuesday evening. Another communication will be sent out to confirm that if we determine it is needed. One thing that anybody could help us with now is simply keeping the work site clean. If you have a few minutes and are willing to drop by and sweep, or pick up and dispose of scrap materials, then we could use your help. Keeping the worksite clean at this point will help keep the dust down in the sanctuary, and it will also make life nicer for the workers as they labor. Got a few minutes to invest in this project for the kingdom?
It's that time of month! The first Saturday of every month, we serve at the Haven of Rest rescue mission in Akron. If you'd like to join us in this important ministry, just meet at the Haven of Rest at 10:00. Ring the buzzer at the food service entrance door and tell them you're with FBC and are there to serve. (Wear a hat)
You'll be done in a couple of hours, and you'll have the satisfaction of having helped those in need.
Brethren, it's been a while since we enjoyed the fellowship and "iron sharpening iron" that comes from our monthly prayer breakfasts. Alas, our building project has put that, along with so many other things, on hold. But Sister Tammy has opened her home this coming Saturday (that would be tomorrow - September 6, at 8:00 AM). So join us there for prayer breakfast!
Those who are attending the Haven of Rest service day tomorrow, join us for the breakfast, too. You'll be out in time to make it to the Haven by 10:00.
It's become a tradition here at Friendship Bible Church - OLD FASHIONED SUNDAY, which takes place in September. In the past we've seen it grow bigger and bigger, with a large tent, pig roast, old fashioned car show, and lots of old fashioned costumes, music, and fun. We've even had a few old time preachers show up and preach the old fashioned gospel in their own words. Charlie Spurgeon showed up one year. And last year, Dwight Lyman Moody graced us with his preaching.
Well, this year will be a little bit scaled back, as we are in the midst of an old fashioned building project, and our facilities are in too much disarray to handle the scale of previous celebrations.
BUT, there will still be great music, fellowship with other friends and believers, and old fashioned gospel preaching. It's possible that old Jonathan Edwards may show up this year, although the last I heard he was on the fence about it.
Oh, and our New Tribes missionary to Indonesia, Sister Sarah Troyer, will be sharing her work and ministry in that far off place.
So invite a friend. Dress up in old fashioned attire. And JOIN US FOR OLD FASHIONED SUNDAY - September 7 at 10:30.