Minister’s Message

My heart is filled with thankfulness

Most cultures in the world have Thanksgiving celebrations; the salmon harvest in Alaska, the sugar cane harvest of Barbados, the grape and new wine harvest in Austria and Italy, and the yam harvest of West Africa. Whether it’s grain, rice, salmon, grapes, sweet potatoes whatever the harvest a good one is a cause for celebration and thanksgiving to the “gods.”

We still have the tradition of harvest thanksgiving and, in the Christian Church, ours is deeply rooted in the Old Testament festivals of Thanksgiving when the people thanked Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for His ongoing provision.

In the past our harvest festivals focused on what was grown ‘at home’ but today, the food we give thanks for, has not only multiplied in quantity but also variety, stretching the seasonal varieties on offer in the past to almost any conceivable (and often unpronounceable Quinoa) foodstuff from anywhere in the world. So along with the potatoes, carrots, swedes, apples and pears we see pasta, peppers kiwis and the strange new variety of fruit the easy peeler.

We’re spoiled by the vast variety of food on offer to us and it seems to me that we have more to thank God for than ever before and yet we don’t appear content with all we have. Do you know that nearly half of the fruit and vegetables grown on this planet for food are thrown away! I often get frustrated that the loaves in Tesco aren’t quite as fresh as I would like them to be or the carrots from Aldi don’t last long enough. Heather will tell you that it’s one of my biggest moans then I think of those who have no choice at all but to eat from bins and drink contaminated water.

Martin Luther wrote that, “The greater God’s gifts and works, the less they are regarded.”

In order for me to be more grateful of God’s provision I first need to think about that provision. The words “Thank” and “Think” come from the same root, reminding us that thanksgiving comes from thinking about our blessings. So, as we celebrate harvest think about what God has done for us physically and spiritually; how he provides our daily bread and how, through Jesus Christ, God made it possible for our damaged relationship with Him to be  restored that  we might have the hope of heaven, then we can come to Him overflowing with gratitude because too often we give Him no credit at all.

Helen Keller once said, “I have often thought it would be a blessing, if every person were stricken blind and deaf for a few days at some time during their early adult life. It would make them more appreciative of sight and the joys of sound.”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”

Thanksgiving is an important part of our faith and harvest helps us think more about thanking God for His provision to us. So let’s not waste the opportunity this harvest and every day to think about God’s blessings and to be thankful; with joy and prayer.

God bless.

Jeff

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