His voice echoes in my mind as if it were yesterday. It was a simple statement with more wisdom than my young ears could discern at the time. “Remember … make hay when the sun shines.” I was just a kid having fun on his farm. He was my grandfather—a farmer with only a third-grade education, but a man from whom flowed endless wisdom. All you had to do was listen.
In a superficial sense I knew about hay. You had to cut the grass while it’s sunny so it dries well and won’t be musty when you bale it later. As I grew to be a man, new realities dawned and the simplicity of that statement bore deeper meaning.
First, there is the importance of taking advantage of the opportunities you’ve been given. Before our modern era, a farmer’s hay in the barn was like money in the bank. The stored hay would feed your livestock. The healthy livestock then supplied food for your family. Storing extra food and hay in the barn meant you were prepared for potential problems. You never knew when it was going to be a long, cold winter or a hot, dry summer. Again, this preparation kept the livestock alive and provided for your family.
Today our lives are different. I don’t need hay or a barn, but the principle is unchanged. The opportunities to make money varies at different times in our lives and we should seize on them. Sometimes the economy is booming and we have the good fortune to work and store extra by having a supply of money in savings—“hay in the barn”. When the sun shines and opportunity avails, it’s important to take advantage of it.
The Bible’s Old Testament tells the true story of a man named Joseph. With God’s guidance, he led the Egyptians to save during seven bountiful years so they could survive the predicted seven years of drought. It worked and the people survived. Like my grandfather, God has given us an example of the need to save during the good times. Again we see the principle—saving during sunny days created extra resources.
We should follow these examples. Lean times will always come but with preparation you will be ready. The trend of the current time is to allow our standard of living to rise during good times and rarely put “hay in the barn” for hard times to come. Whether you’re a farmer in Western North Carolina, an Egyptian, or anyone else—you must force yourself to save.
I’m not an alarmist but facts today point to an impending economic storm. In the face of any disaster you will need three things: a faith life to support you in the midst of the storm, money in the bank (hay in your barn) to keep your family alive in the immediate aftermath, and an education to help you rebuild.
I’m encouraging you to be prepared. I hope you’re storing hay in the barn—the storm is on the horizon. Are you ready?