Monday, May 5, 2014
THE LAST ONE
Kansas Hay, Lake Kahola, KS
I spent many shirtless days in the wide-angle Kansas outdoors during the idyllic sunny days of my youth. A couple of those summers during high school were spent earning minimum wages bailing alfalfa and prairie grass bales of hay for winter cattle feed. It was sweaty, honest work and your head hit the pillow that night with a good kind of tired. I mostly worked for the fathers of a couple good friends at school who owned cattle and grain farms on the outskirts of the central Kansas town where I grew up. The hay would be cut, gathered into rows to be dried and finally baled out in the shimmering fields. We would drive a tractor pulling a flatbed trailer into the fields dotted with hay bales and methodically begin to pick them up and neatly stack them into interlocking cubes on the trailer. When the trailer was loaded to capacity, we’d drive to the nearest barn and unload them up into a hot and dusty hay loft.
We developed a ritual over time that became almost a spiritual experience. As we approached the final bales to be unloaded, someone always made the comment, “Well, we finally found the one we’ve been looking for”. Then we’d all ask in unison, “Which one is that”? And the jubilant answer was always, “The Last One”! One of the life lessons I learned during those sunny days was that we only have just so much time to be exchanging the limited hours we have in life for the money that pays the bills necessary to live. And the skill level and scarcity of the skills we’ve acquired has a lot to do with how much somebody is willing to pay for those hours. So the money I earned for tuition and living expenses those summer days was mostly saved to acquire skills for my personal tool kit. Skills that somebody would pay much more than minimum hourly wages in exchange for my future hours spent at work.
Our Christian Believer class that I’ve been team teaching will be completing our thirtieth weekly lesson tonight. It’s the one we’ve been seeking for almost a year—“The Last One”! But it’s been a great ride and all of us have grown in our spiritual journey. Our lives have been changed, especially since we all wake up every morning as a different person. Hopefully, we’ve changed for the better. We’ve invested over a hundred hours in study and discussion. We’ve traded a portion of the hours of our lives to invest in a timeless eternity. That sure beats minimum wage!
We learned that many Biblical words have special meanings like the word Immanuel which means “God is with us”. And Amen is “the last one” of the words of prayers and creeds. We learned that it means “so be it”! It’s not enough to believe, although that’s a good first step. Our response to God’s providence is to act upon our beliefs and be doers of the Word. So be it!