'For Everything There Is
'For Everything There Is A Season'
Harvest and Giving Thanks to God
Matthew 9: 35-38; St Matthew 14: 14-20 (NIV)
Harvest is a time when we reflect on and celebrate God's goodness to us,
giving thanks for His plentiful provision and His bountiful blessings. When we
see the wonderful colours of autumn on the trees; the beauty of flowers and
fruit in season, the fields ripe with corn, the sun glinting and gleaming on
swaying golden grain, we are reminded of the greatness of our Creator God. As
we think of the wonder of creation, we are also reminded of our responsibility
to care for all of God's creation and to share our resources with others.
We give thanks for every good gift that comes from God, for our daily bread,
the sun and the rain, the plants which mature in autumn and nourish us all year
and for the harvest of land and sea. We have so much to be thankful for and yet
so often we take these things for granted. God supplies our every need and yet
so often we misuse the resources we are given. We waste so much food while
others across the world are starving, struggling to find fresh water and food
to nourish their bodies. We regularly pray to God saying, 'give us this day our
daily bread,' yet do we consider the millions of people who are denied even
that because of greed of some others!?
Our God is a God of love and compassion who wants us to share all we have
with others so all may be fed. We see our Lord's compassion shown in both of
the passage above, as He showed compassion to the crowds. He saw and met the
needs of the people.
In the story of the loaves and the fishes from Matthew chapter 14 (above),
we see two different reactions to human need. When the disciples saw how late
it was, and how tired and hungry the crowd were, they said, 'send them away so
that they can find something to eat.' In effect they said, 'These people are
tired and hungry. Get rid of them and let someone else worry about them.' But
Jesus said, 'You give them something to eat.' In effect Jesus said, 'These
people are tired and hungry. We must do something about it.'
There are always people who are quite aware that others are in need, but who
wish to push the responsibility for doing something about it on to someone
else, and there are always people who when they see someone up against it feel
compelled to do something about it themselves. There are those who say, 'let
others worry' and there are those who say, 'I must worry about my brother or
Jesus shows compassion to all and we too are called to cultivate compassion
in our hearts and to see the needs of people through Christ's eyes and to meet
those needs in love.
The story of the loaves and the fishes also shows two reactions to human
resources. The disciples thought that anything that they had would be too small
and of no use in feeding the large crowd so they thought it wasn't even
worthwhile trying. They only had 5 loaves and 2 fish. These were not loaves
which we are familiar with but would have been like small rolls and the fish
would have been small salt fish the size of sardines. It didn't seem much but
Jesus took it and worked wonders with it.
In the hands of Jesus, little is always much. We may think we have little of
talent or substance to give to Jesus but that is no reason for a hopeless
pessimism such as the disciples had. We need to be willing to give our all to
God, to trust that with Him all things are possible, that He can turn our
smallest of offerings given in faith into immeasurably more. If we truly put
ourselves into the hands of Jesus Christ, there is no telling what he can do
with us and through us, so let us be willing to share what little we have and
be open to allow God to use our gifts for His glory.
In the passage from Mathew chapter 9 (above), we also see Jesus showing
compassion on the people, meeting their needs and feeding their souls with the
message of the gospel. Our need for daily bread is not just a physical need but
also a spiritual need. Our spiritual lives are a bit like the farmer's field.
Sometimes it is healthy and growing and at other times it is flattened by
circumstances, in desperate need of spiritual nourishment.
We need to be strengthened and sustained by God's goodness, His spiritual
food, His Living Word of truth, His unfailing love and everlasting peace.
As Disciples of Christ we also have a responsibility to share the gospel
message with others, to sow the seeds of love and be willing to gather and reap
the harvest, to turn our compassion into loving action. Jesus tells his
disciples how to fulfil their task, telling them there is a large harvest to be
gained and so they must first pray to God for more workers to help them gather
in the harvest. This image of the harvest highlights the urgency of their task.
As any farmer will know, when the harvest is ready, you need to get it in
quickly. If you miss your chance, the crop could be ruined. So Jesus is saying
to them, 'look, this is urgent, you've got a task to do, so there is no time
for messing around, just go and get on with it. The Kingdom of God is near now,
so now is the time to respond.'
The task for disciples is clear but it is still a difficult mission and this
remains the mission of the Church today, we are the people that Christ is
sending out, like lambs among wolves to share the peace of Christ, to eat and
drink with people, to respond in mercy to sickness and brokenness, and to talk
about the nearness of God and of God's reign in the world. That is Christ's
commission to the whole Church. As it says in Matthew chapter 28, 'Go, then,
to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name
of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and teach them to obey everything I
have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age.'
So are we willing to respond to Christ's calling and fulfil His mission and
go wherever He may lead us? Jesus calls us not only to come to Him, but also to
go for Him. Being a Christian includes being sent into the world as a
representative of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, As the Father has sent me, I am
There is a plentiful harvest as many people are seeking and searching for
meaning to life but there are still too few workers willing to respond to
Christ's call, to be messengers of God's love. Where are the messengers today?
This call to mission is not just for ministers or elders but for each one of us
- the workers are all of us and we all have a task to do. We may feel
inadequate, wondering what difference our small part may play but to God there
are no small parts - all are necessary. It has been said that anyone who thinks
they are too small to make a difference has never been in bed with a
As Christ's Church, we all have an important part to play in fulfilling His
mission. We may not see the full significance of our little part of it but God
sees the bigger picture and so we should put our trust in Him and go in His
Let us put our faith and hope in the Lord of the harvest, let us be willing
to work for Him, sowing His seeds of love and compassion amongst all those we
meet so sharing the gospel by the way we live our lives both in words and
actions, by being Christ like and living by kingdom values. Let us truly be
thankful for all that God gives us and be willing to allow Him to use our
little offerings to do big things in this community and beyond. Wherever God
leads us, may we be willing to not only witness for Him but also to work for
Him so giving Him glory and praise in everything.
Lord of our harvest, we thank you for the wonder of your creation, for your
great goodness to us in giving such plentiful provision and bountiful
blessings. Lord, you have made us one with this earth, to tend it and to bring
forth fruit. Help us to respect and cherish all that has life from you and to
share in the labour of all creation so giving you all glory and praise. Lord,
your harvest is a harvest of love, love sown in the hearts of people, love that
spreads out like branches of a great tree covering all who seek its shelter;
love that inspires and recreates; love that is planted in the weak and the
weary, the sick and the dying. The harvest of your love is the life that
reaches through the weeds of sin and death to the sunlight of resurrection.
Lord, nurture our days with your love, water our souls with the dew of
forgiveness, that the harvest of our lives may be your joy through Jesus Christ
our Lord. Amen.
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