Over the Labor Day weekend my husband and I traveled to check out the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion (WMSTR), featuring International Harvester this year. One thing that I always enjoy seeing are old engines and their history. This show had many buildings full of old engines, along with what they were used for. And tractors from different decades were lined up in rows and participated in the parade.
The transition of engine technology from just even 100 years ago to today truly amazes me. The thought that my grandpa, even my Dad, grew up driving completely different sized and styled tractors than I did is crazy to think about. I mean, it hasn’t really been THAT MANY years!
As I watched the parade of tractors going by, then moved on to check out different engines and even to watch a horse power test of early 1900 tractors, I realized how easy it is to forget how we got to the point we are at in agriculture. For that matter, it’s easy to forget anything from the past that got us to the present. Lately, technology seems to be the thing that is advancing so quickly…and we’ve easily forgotten what it was like to type a school report on a type-writer (thank the Lord for this), have to stand by the phone to talk to friends because it had a cord or go to the bathroom outside because running water didn’t exist (also, thank the Lord!).
I became thankful to remember the past. Without taking time to think about the past, we forget so many things: values, history, hard work, thankfulness and so much more. Take a moment and think about it. What from your past has created you to be who you are? How do you accomplish things with the tools in your hand…how did those tools get there?
In our culture we seem to have conflicting views: There are those who say “put the past behind us” and “forget the past” or there are those who say “the past has made us who we are” and “be proud of our past”. Now, I could address the issues and advantages of both of those thoughts. But I’ll give you a short tidbit: If we forget our past and all that has been done before us, how would we even remember that the Lord sacrificed His Son for us so that we might be free of our sin? And if we are proud of our past, why? Our past is full of sin.
It is valuable to remember our past, remember those who have come before us and what they’ve done. Not so we can be proud of it, but so we can learn from it, be thankful for the lessons we’ve learned and for what others have given us and to recognize the gifts of the Lord. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
“‘Please inquire of past generations, and consider the things searched out by their fathers. For we are only of yesterday and know nothing, because our days on earth are as a shadow. Will they not teach you and tell you, and bring forth words from their minds?'” -Job 8:8-10
It is absolutely amazing to me how change occurs so quickly, but also comforting to know that whenever anyone looks to the Lord, He is always there..steadfast and true. Forgiveness is the result of past historical events…and it continues to affect us today.
We may not envy those “old timers” for the extra work they had to go through to accomplish their daily tasks and work, whether it be washing clothes without running water, farming without air-conditioned tractor cabs, using a type-writer for schoolwork or having to stand in one spot while talking on the phone. But, their hard work, efforts and wisdom were valuable to their futures…as well as our futures. So next time you see an old engine, or an old timer who remembers using the engine, find someone to thank who has made a difference in your life. They are part of your history, honor them.