Harvest is a time to rejoice in God’s promise, ‘While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.’ (Genesis 8:22). The weather may have been truculent over our land this year, but God will always honour His ancient promise set out in Genesis.
Giving thanks for the material blessings we receive—is only part of Harvest Thanksgiving.
Jesus loved to speak of the flowers of the field, of time of sowing and reaping, of wheat and tares, and the need for good grain. He told parables of ploughing, harvesting, and the man who needed bigger barns. In his teaching Jesus was very down to earth, but he sought to lift our thoughts heavenwards. When the Samaritans flocked out of the city to see Him, he said they were ‘white unto harvest’ - a harvest of souls. When a few Greeks desired to see Him, Jesus saw them as the first fruits of a great ingathering of the Gentiles. Of his approaching cross he said—’Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone: but if it dies, it bears much fruit.’(John 12:24).
Jesus spoke of the fields, and the acres of ripening corn; but saw them as signs of a yet more wonderful world. He turned the earthly things into parables of heaven.
T. T. Lynch put it this way: ‘He spoke of grass, and wind, and rain, and fig-trees, and fair weather; and made it His delight to bring heaven and earth together’.
Look first at the seed. Jesus said, ‘It is the word of God.’ It is good seed. It is the good news of the kingdom of God. It is the Gospel. In it lies hope for our souls, for it is the seed-corn of salvation.
The sower scatters the seed, there is little doubt that Jesus saw himself as the sower. He had worked among those whom sin had hardened—publicans, prostitutes and the self-righteous. Sinners were hard soil, but He had sowed in hope.
The soil is the heart or soul of the hearer. There are hearts that are hard, some are shallow and others choked.
But there are good hearts, hearts receptive to the Word of God: ‘These are they which have heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit.’
The Gospel, said Jesus, is good seed, and, sown in open hearts, will produce thirty, sixty, a hundred fold!
So let us rejoice on this Harvest Sunday in all the good things that our Heavenly Father gives us.
In the middle of her shopping trip this lady felt the need for a coffee break.
So she bought herself a little packet of biscuits and put them in her shopping bag, ordered a coffee, found a place to sit at one of the crowded tables outside, took a magazine out of her bag and began to sip her coffee.
Across the table from her a man sat reading his newspaper.
After a minute or two she reached out and took a biscuit.
As she did so, the man also reached out and took one.
She was not amused but she didn’t say anything.
A short while later she took another biscuit.
Once again the man did so too.
Now she was getting quite upset, but still she decided not say anything.
After having a few more sips of coffee she took a third biscuit.
So did the man.
She was really annoyed by this - especially because now only one biscuit was left.
Obviously the man had also realized that it was the last biscuit because, before she could say anything, he took it, broke it in half, offered half to her, and proceeded to eat the other half himself.
Then he smiled at her and, tucking his newspaper under his arm, got up and walked away.
She was so cross!!
She folded her magazine and angrily shoved it into her shopping bag, only then to discover her own unopened packet of biscuits.
Does this story illustrate how we sometimes behave?
Do we take for granted what we have?
Do we fail to acknowledge God’s goodness and generosity to us?
This harvest time is a real opportunity to un-blind our eyes, to consider the gracious generosity of our loving heavenly Father and to offer ourselves and all that we have in thankfulness to Him.
In Deuteronomy 8, we read of Moses reminding the people of Israel of how God has blessed them and then, in verses 17 and 18, he says:
‘Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my own hand have gained me this wealth.’
But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.’