At Harvest time I would like us to think about the rainbow. The Bible tells us that God gave us the rainbow so that we would remember that as long as the Earth remains we will always have seedtime and harvest time. In other words, God makes sure that we always have food to eat, and enough of the right kind of food to eat, so that we remain fit and healthy.
Perhaps you are thinking, that if this is so, why are there millions of people in our world today who don’t have enough to eat, and who don’t have the right kind of food to eat, and who don’t remain fit and healthy. What is God doing for them? What does His promise mean to them?
The answer lies in the way in which God works. There is enough food for everyone in the world! The problem is that fewer than one-third of the world’s population consumes more than two-thirds of its resources.
God does help those who don’t have enough to eat – through us! We have more than we need and so we can share with those who don’t have enough. In this way we show, in a very practical way, that we are grateful to God for all of the good things he has given us to enjoy. It also shows that we care about those who are not so fortunate. It shows that we, as Christian people, take our stewardship of God’s good things seriously and that we are keen to pass on God’s love and care to those in need. We know God as Father. It is totally inconceivable that God would want some of His children to starve to death, while others have too much.
God is generous to us – in return we need to be generous to others. We have many opportunities to do that, amongst these are the Christian Aid harvest appeal, for those whose harvests have failed or who have had very poor harvests. I know that we all struggle to raise funds to meet our outgoings, so perhaps we could consider just giving a part of our Harvest Festival collections to the Christian Aid harvest appeal? The great thing about Christian Aid is that they ensure that the right kind of help is provided. Christian Aid is not about handouts. It is about restoring self-worth and human dignity, of both the person who gives and the person who receives. Christian Aid funded projects work by meeting with local community groups, or with individual families, and looking at what skills the people have and agreeing on what income-generating work they might take up. The funding is there to provide start-up costs for necessities such as machinery or seeds. They also help to look for markets for the produce. When we buy fair trade products, now available in supermarkets, we help at the other end of the production line, ensuring that the producers receive a fair return. On the first Saturday of each month, at 10.00am, we have a fair trade shop and coffee morning in the Benefice Hall next to Wickhambrook church. Why not come along and enjoy the opportunity to have a chat over a cup of coffee and also take a look at the range of lovely fair trade goods, which are available to buy?
Every year we celebrate Harvest Thanksgiving but, when our abundant harvest makes us so grateful that we want to reach out to the hungry and thirsty, then we are truly thankful.
With every blessing.
Rev'd Stephen Abbott