Straw or Hay ... What's the Difference?

>> Tuesday, September 27, 2011

As I turned the corner and pulled in the parking lot, the signs at the feed store next door caught my attention. There were two stacks of bailed something. One stack had a sign that said “Straw.” The other stack’s sign said “Hay.” And they looked just exactly alike. I climbed from my car and moved closer … trying to discern the difference.  

To my eye, they were the same.  

I worked all day, but when it came time to leave, I took one last look at the two stacks … and then took a picture. I was intrigued. When I got home I searched for the definitions of straw and hay.  

Straw is the stalks of grain after threshing … used for bedding or packing. And beneath that definition was the word – chaff. So I was off and running … looking up that word.  

Chaff is the seed coverings and other debris separated from the seed in threshing grain.  

On the other hand, hay is grass that has been mowed and cured for fodder … which led me to look up the word fodder.  

Fodder is something fed to domestic animals … especially coarse food for cattle, horses or sheep.  

And while all this was banging around in my head, I kept remembering scriptures … that talked about chaff and threshing floors … causing separation.  

“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.

But not the wicked!
They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.” Psalm 1:1-4 (NLT)

Or what about this one?

“He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.” Matthew 3:12 (NLT)

The worthless chaff is burned.  

Hay is useful and straw is worthless. But to the untrained eye, they look exactly the same. I can look, act, talk, dress and read my Bible like a Christ-follower. My money can be used to help the poor and I can spend my time doing good works. To the untrained eye, I look like a Christ-follower.  

But I know if I’m straw or hay … and so does Jesus.


Joanne Sher September 27, 2011 at 6:32 AM  

Ooooh - good lesson! Had NO idea they looked the same. WOW. Thanks, Joy!

Joy Bach September 27, 2011 at 7:11 AM  

I drove by those stacks all last week. Yesterday I could take it no more. I just knew there was a lesson there. They were speaking to me.

Catrina Bradley... September 27, 2011 at 3:39 PM  

Oh, Joy! Fabulous! Love love love this post.

btw, I'm a farm girl so I can tell the difference (to me it's huge), but my husband thinks I'm crazy to even think there IS a difference. Now I know HE's not crazy either. ;)

Joy Bach September 28, 2011 at 8:06 PM  

Cat, thanks so much for stopping by and for your support. No, he's not crazy. They look just the same.

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