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Hartselle Enquirer
A. Ray Lee ss

Quitting time    

A. Ray Lee 

Columnist

In my childhood days spent on a small cotton farm, we ordered our work according to “sun time” even after someone got the big idea to readjust the hands on the clock and call it “daylight saving time” arguing that it would give us another hour of sunlight in which to work. That proposition did not affect our schedule at all. Our workday was not defined by a time clock. Its boundaries were determined by sunrise and sunset.

The roosters still crowed in the morning before daylight. The cows lowed to be fed and milked at the same old time as usual. We still arose while it was yet dark to complete the morning chores. After breakfast, we arrived in the fields for work just as the sun came over the eastern horizon.

We stopped work for what country folks called dinner as the sun reached its zenith. After a filling meal and a brief rest, we returned to the fields for an afternoon of labor where we were shielded from the heat of the sun only by a straw hat. We trudged barefooted down long rows of cotton with a hoe in hand removing excess cotton plants and digging out grass and weeds.

As the sun began to sink low my strength dissipated and I prayed the sun would hasten down so J. J. would declare it to be quitting time. I silently groaned when we started another set of rows knowing the sun would be out of sight before we reached their end.

In the classic movie “Gone with the Wind” there is a scene depicting a number of slaves cultivating young cotton plants. It was late in the afternoon when both the mules and those guiding the plows were exhausted from the long hours spent in the field. The rows they were ploughing seemed endless as the sun sank low in the western sky. Suddenly one of the young men could stand the toil and heat no longer. Wiping grime and sweat from his brow with a calloused hand he yelled “quitting time.” But the supervisor turned, and in a commanding voice said, “It ain’t quitting time ‘til I say it’s quitting time.”

As one ages the cares, heartaches, and trials accumulate as do the years. Memories from the past often cloud our vision of the present and our hope for the future. We seek for a reason to continue in life. Some may even pray for a day when physical life will end and they will be home with the Lord. But it is not quitting time until the Lord of life says it is. Then there is a new day coming for those who love and trust him.

An old Gospel song states “Sunset is coming but the sunrise we will see.” John the Revelator writes of a day when all will be new and the cares and heartaches of the past will be wiped away with our tears. For the blessed promise in its entirety see Revelation chapter 21.

Lord hasten the day when our faith shall be sight!

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