Sharing the Harvest

“The Lord will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest.” –Psalm 85:12

Fall is a wonderful time of year. I love the mild weather, colorful leaves, and many activities in our churches, schools, and communities. Of course, I also enjoy the outdoor sports activities and festivals. I’m guessing that you enjoy a lot of that too.

Fall is also a time of harvest – bringing in the crop that God has once again blessed us with, whether it be abundant or small. In my business, as in all agriculture, the harvest means a time of intense activity. The culmination of months of work, which will determine whether the coming year will be one of plenty or shortage. Thankfully, many of this year’s crops are coming in much better than last.

The changing of the seasons and the annual harvest means that fall can be a time to recognize that all we have and all we gain is not due to our own efforts – but to God’s providing what we need. Sure, we may plant a crop (or a tree) and tend it, but fruit (or grain or nut) comes not just from our efforts but from God’s constant creative activity.

That’s why I like the Psalm noted above. It helps remind me that God gives. And God’s gifts are good. And the promise that the harvest we really need WILL come. I’ve shared this with the folks at my business, since we are so dependent upon God’s providing a sufficient harvest of wild Black Walnuts for jobs as well as for products that people can enjoy.

The ancient Israelites were taught to give a tithe (10%) of their harvest to God. This standard of giving was reinforced by the New Testament writers, so the tithe is still the standard expectation for leaders in the church. I’ve sometimes envisioned taking 10% of our annual nut crop to the altar at my church – but I think my pastor would prefer that I bring a tithe of the income from the sale instead!

This fall – harvest time – we have several opportunities to recognize how God has once again provided, to give thanks, and to share with others of God’s children. The Festival of Sharing is one of those great celebration opportunities. Another is the annual commitment of giving a percentage of income to support God’s work through our local congregation’s ministries. And, of course, we’ll have Thanksgiving – which to me is the culmination of fall harvest time and celebration of God’s goodness.

Each of us is blessed with a harvest this fall. Whether it be a physical harvest of produce, a spiritual harvest of seeing God more clearly, or some other form. Despite whatever difficulty we may be enduring, God has indeed given what is good. I think that’s also called “grace”. This fall, let’s rejoice and share generously in the harvest that God brings to our lives.