Tobacco Fields Back Home

Now after these things, the Lord also appointed seventy others, and sent them two by two ahead of him into every city and place where he was about to come. Then he said to them, 'The harvest is indeed plentiful, but the laborers are few. Pray therefore to the Lord of the harvest, that he may send out laborers into his harvest.' Luke 10:1 WEB

By the early afternoon, we were covered up to our shoulders in layers of tobacco gum and dirt. I was a cropper, and as we walked along the rows, we cropped the ripened yellow tobacco leaves off and slapped them under our arm. A tractor pulled a trailer, or 'tobacco drag' along a nearby path, and when you had all the tobacco you could carry, you made your way to the trailer and stacked it on until it was full. Then it was taken to the barn of the day, where it was sewn onto sticks by a stringer. The hangers then hung the tobacco sticks on the rafters inside the barn to dry. The barn was then heated with propane burners for a few weeks, until the tobacco had lost about eighty percent of its weight. It was then stripped off the sticks, tied in huge burlap bags, and taken to the auction to sell.

When cropping tobacco, a layer of sticky gum would get on your arms, then the sand from the leaves would stick to that. Then another layer of gum, and another layer of dirt built up until you were covered in something resembling black tar. It was also highly water resistant and very difficult to wash off.

The tobacco cropping season came during the months of July and August in the South where I grew up. That was the time to bring the ripe tobacco into the barns. This was the hottest part of summer, and when you bent down between the rows of tobacco, there was no wind at all. The croppers would often struggle through the intense southern heat.

I remember one day when some of the croppers became sick, partly from the heat and partly from the diesel fumes of the tractor settling over the area. One by one, they began vomiting and falling out, leaving the rest of us to carry their row. We eventually made it through the day and filled the barn, but we sure could have used more help that day.

There is a great harvest in the kingdom of God starting to happen, and true laborers are few. We are approaching the greatest harvest of all time and many of the ones already in the field have become tired, hurt, sick, discouraged, or passed on. Who is going to fill their shoes? Isaiah said: 'Here I am, send me!' (Isaiah 6:8) and God sent him. Wherever you are, pray for more laborers. We could really use some help in the field today.

It was interesting that Jesus sent the laborers out ahead of Him, to the places where He was about to go. In my life, I have always wanted to be where the revival was, but usually ended up being somewhere else while it happened. The laborers prepare the way for the Lord to come. They go ahead of Him into the fields. So if you are a laborer, know that your work is not in vain. We are preparing the way for the Lord of the harvest to come.

Prayer: Heavenly Father I thank You so much for all that You do for me, for allowing me to know You. Please put those in my path that I can reach and give me the words to speak and I will say them. Fill me with a boldness and Your passion for the lost, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray.

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