1- to store, save, or put away for future use
2- nautical(sailing vessel) to come to a standstill; heave to; lay to
3- in midland and southern U.S. used as an agricultural term- to tend (a crop) for last time, leaving it to mature without further cultivation (WORK)
Historically, this happened in the South during the month of August before the harvesting of cotton, soybeans, tobacco. This is the time that there was nothing more the farmer could do but take his hands off and WAIT, REST and let it mature, let it prosper to its peak state before time to harvest/reap what he sowed; to gather his REWARD.
SO, since the men were not out in the fields, the community church would hold REVIVAL services for at least 2 weeks. While the crops were “laid-by”, being cared for by God alone, the farmers and families who also were “laid-by” became REVIVED in their REST before the REWARD! The men were physically, and most certainly, emotionally WORN OUT from WORKING/TOILING and WORRYING about the weather, the insects, the yield, the fluctuating prices etc.
Interesting how when man ” RESTED from his work” ( Sabbath), when he took his hands off the crops and left it all to the Creator, not only did the crops get a REST from being WORKED, but man too.
Interesting how in that RESTING state the crops flourished and peaked and man did too- physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
So there is a lesson for us here- in God’s kingdom, RESTING by laying something down into God’s care and WAITING expectantly, trusting He is doing His WORK, REVIVES us, recharges, refreshes, restores us. It is a necessary step in order to “bring in the harvest”, the REWARD !
On the flip side, if we don’t “lay-by” into God’s hands what’s gripped in our hand, has our attention, has our heart, and we keep WORKING it to death in our own strength, we nor the “crop” benefits. Like my dog in the pond, we muddy the waters in our anxiousness, lose sight of the treasure, and aren’t in the right place or position (physically, emotionally, or spiritually) to RECEIVE our REWARD when given back. It becomes a weight on our shoulders instead.
Being personally set aside, “laid-by” by the LORD of the Harvest is usually baffling, confusing, misunderstood, and/or discouraging. We don’t like to REST/trust, we like to DO/WORK. We don’t see it as a gift but a negative. It feels like we’ve been forgotten. But it is necessary.
We need that preparing time to prosper, be at our peak before He calls us back out into the field to join Him in His REAPING WORK. Notice I said His WORK, not ours. We get to move in His path, not TOILING but FLOWING in His current. And that Harvest, that REWARD is His promise we’ve been WAITING for.
I’m hearing Him tell me in this that it is the season to “lay-by” our treasure, our promise, our dream and desire, our limited expectations, our load and REST in great assurance that Jesus is taking hold of it, taking hold of us, and doing His perfect finishing WORK for our good.