MANY churches have been celebrating, or are about to celebrate, Harvest Thanksgiving.
What a wonderful time of year this is, but how dependent we are on forces outwith our control. The farmers must eye the weather forecasts with apprehension, for too much rain or too much drought can have disastrous consequences.
Harvest is an ideal opportunity and an annual focus to remind us of our dependence on Almighty God, Who gives us so much. We so often take His gifts for granted, and we so rarely stop to give thanks.
Our Lord Jesus used many illustrations from the world of farming to get His message across to His listeners. How many times do we find references to sowing, harvesting or gathering into barns in many of His well-loved parables.
When I was a parish minister I regularly used the analogy of harvest to point out to people, that in life we simply reap what we sow.
How often, for instance, have you been at the receiving end of unexpected kindnesses and much thoughtfulness. Maybe when you have experienced a bereavement, or a special anniversary of one kind or another, you have felt almost overwhelmed by the kindnesses you have received, and the appreciation that you have been shown.
Regularly I have heard people express wonder and amazement at how kind people have been to them, but then, this is simply the harvest they are reaping. Those who go through life unsmiling; sour-faced and uncommunicative aren’t going to make many friends. Often the nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love are remembered by others, although those who show such kindnesses may well forget them. Some of you may recall singing the old hymn which goes like this:
“Sowing in the morning, sowing seeds of kindness,
Sowing in the noontide and the dewy eve -
Waiting for the harvest and the time of reaping,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.”
There is a verse at the end of Psalm 126 which words it like this: “ They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. May you reap a harvest of love and friendship, but remember you can only expect to do so if first of all you have sown the seeds.
Rev John F. Anderson