Food For Thought On Thanksgiving

“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest…will never cease” (Genesis 8:22). God has once again kept this promise. Once again, the farmers were able to sow and harvest. Once again, God allowed the planted seeds to sprout and grow. Once again, He—as He now has for many years—provided the conditions for a good harvest.

The farmers among us may often have worried: “Will the planted seeds sprout? Will they produce and bear ripe fruit? Will there be good weather for the harvest?” And from a human point of view, these worries were, in truth, sometimes justified. Whether a cold hoarfrost threatened to destroy the spring blossoms, a long drought hindered growth, or heavy rain made it nearly impossible to bring in the crops, nature’s might left us helpless. Once again, we had to recognize that God “is exalted by His power” (Job 36:22), that everything depends on God’s blessings, and that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom despite all of the achievements of science and technology. With this realization, many a fervent prayer must have risen to the Creator and Sustainer of all things.

Unfortunately, humanity’s sense of dependence on God is waning. People believe that they can rely on their own achievements and knowledge. Despite all of this, God looks out for His fallen creation time and time again. In His mercy, He made His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and He sent rain on the just and on the unjust this year yet again (see Matthew 5:45). He granted yet another harvest to sustain His creation and to fulfill the word of the psalmist: “The eyes of all look expectantly to You, and You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing” (Psalm 145:15-16).

The grace of God, revealed through His harvest blessings, has moved people to reflection and contemplation from time immemorial—if their hearts were not completely hardened. This is the origin of the widespread custom of dedicating a special day of thanks to God.

The Israelites were supposed to be thankful to God and helpful to their neighbors. They were allowed to enjoy their new harvest only once they had offered their first fruits to God. We, too, have good reason to thank God for the rich harvest.

Unfortunately, true thankfulness has become rarer in these times of plenty. However, we can be reminded of the  importance of thanking God daily for the things He gives us by His grace!

David praised the grace of God in his wonderful verses: “You visit the earth and water it, You greatly enrich it;          …You provide their grain…You water its ridges abundantly, You settle its furrows; You make it soft with showers, You bless its growth…the pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered with grain; they shout for joy, they also sing” (Psalm 65:9-13). Joy and thankfulness resound in these words. Shall we not also join in the worship of the Creator and Sustainer of all things?

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, compares Himself to the wheat kernel that had to fall to earth and die in order to bear fruit (John 12:24). In the same way, He, freely giving His life, became the firstborn of a vast number of people who believe in Him and who were reborn to a new, eternal life as His first fruit.

Each life is a cycle of spiritual sowing and harvest. It is governed by the principle that “whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7). Those who build their lives on that which is visible and who orientate themselves by the natural world will harvest destruction from the flesh. In contrast, those who direct their senses to that which is eternal and orientate themselves by the spiritual world will harvest eternal life from the Spirit who reveals God’s will to them.

The seed determines the harvest. This principle applies to all people, including those who are already certain of their salvation due to their faith in Jesus Christ. They, too, need to ensure that they sow seeds that promise eternal fruit through their lives so that they—although they are saved—do not arrive at Christ’s throne of judgment on that great harvest day without fruit (see 2 Corinthians 5:10).

We often sow seeds of sorrow, working with tear-filled eyes. However, Scripture tells us that those who sow with tears will harvest with rejoicing: “He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:6).

The Lord’s coming is near. The Supreme Judge of the world is standing before the door and waiting—as did the farmers—to harvest the earth’s precious fruit. What will He find? Has His mercy led us to repentance? God still has patience with the unrepentant and ungrateful, but at some point, the sickle will be raised, and the harvest will begin. What will that harvest yield?

May the commemoration of this year’s harvest give us food for thought regarding the last, great harvest in eternity!

W. Sch.

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