Skip to content

Sowing For Harvest

September 30, 2012

A Thanksgiving Sunday

I would start my preaching today with a funny story I heard recently:

“Two men were walking through a field one day when they spotted an enraged bull. Instantly they darted toward the nearest fence.  The storming bull followed in hot pursuit, and it was soon apparent they wouldn’t make it.

Terrified, the one shouted to the other, “Put up a prayer, John. We’re in for it!”

John answered, “I can’t. I’ve never made a public prayer in my life.”

“But you must!” implored his companion. “The bull is catching up to us.”

 “All right,” panted John, “I’ll say the only prayer I know, the one my father used to repeat at the table: ‘O Lord, for what we are about to receive, make us truly thankful.'”

Perhaps this joke will make us laugh. But many may ask: how is it possible that there are people who can’t even say a simple prayer. But the truth is that there are people who do not even know, or even worse, do not even have the courage to say a prayer of thanks before eating. And that’s sad. Many people think that praying, and giving thanks for our food, is just an old tradition done out of habit.

But to have the courage to thank shows three important things: that we believe in God, that we are not ashamed of God and that we can thank God for what we have. Some people do not thank God and that’s sad.

Today we are here to thank God. Firstly, to thank God because we are alive and are gathered in this church today because He gives us the privilege of having a church, where we are able to gather to worship Him.

Gratitude enriches the human heart, filling it with happiness. Misery is a heart full of sadness and tragedy. Those who believe in God must always give thanks to God, for this is His will. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess 5:18).

Anyone can thank God when everything goes well and life is good. But most people are not willing to offer thanksgiving when they feel loss, pain and sadness. To give thanks to God in the midst of difficult situations is to be truly Christian.

During our life, if we may, we will find a million things to thank God for. However, if you are looking for negative stuff, we could find complaints and murmurings also by the millions. Let us see why we should thank God. Calvin said, “The hypocrite seeks God when in danger, but after receiving the aid, cannot remember God, because he is hypocritical.” Cervantes said, “The greatest sin of man is to not know to thank. Hell is full of ungrateful men”.

Nobel Prize winner Ernest Hemingway also confessed that his life was full of vanity when he left the world at age 62. He had fame, wealth and honor, was married often and was divorced too many times. But before he died he said, “I feel empty as a broken bulb filament” and killed himself with a rifle. What will you gain, if you own the whole world but destroy yourself? What would you give to get back your soul? Will wealth, fame and honor save you? All these things are nothing but doom. Although we may not have great wealth, fame and honor in this world, the most valuable thing we have is life. He who has the Son has life and he that has not the Son has not life, eternal life is not in him, but the wrath of God abides on him. Through faith in the Son we have salvation. So we should thank God; thank God for salvation.

Also, we thank God because we live in a time when we can freely hear the gospel, where there are churches everywhere worshipping in all languages and at all times. We give thanks to God for our salvation, because the doors to heaven are open to us if we so choose.

We are living in a country where there is freedom of religion, freedom to provide services of worship and freedom to build churches. These are truly blessings from God.

It is a blessing to have a home where the family gathers at the table to share food. The church is the spiritual home. It is where we receive spiritual nourishment and strength.

I once went to visit a family that was within the “member list” of the church, but in fact, the only ‘member’ of the church or Christian of the household was the mother. I was invited to have lunch. When the time comes to eat, as a pastor, it is often expected of me to say a prayer. On this occasion, I offered it naturally, when one of the woman’s sons, who was of very good economic standing, smiled at me and said: I want you to know I never give thanks. I earn my money by the sweat of my brow and I don’t have to give thanks to anybody when I eat. I just start right in!”.

The man began to eat, and the mother, in a little bit of a low voice, told me: “Pastor, say a prayer” and so I did.

When I finished the mother said aloud: “Yes, my son, you’re just like our dog before eating. That’s what he does too!”

It was a little funny, but at the time I felt bad over the words about God from this disrespectful man. The words that hit me most, and I have also heard them from other people, too, were: “I earn my money by the sweat of my brow and I don’t have to give thanks to anybody”.

However, we Christians do not think in this manner. Today, we are here in church by the Grace of God. And we have come especially to thank God. The harvest Thanksgiving service is not a picturesque act that binds us to our tradition. This Sunday we reflect on whether or not we are aware that everything, absolutely everything we have, comes from God. We also observe whether or not we also have that feeling of gratitude in every day of the year.

It is very likely that the abundant life that Jesus promises us (Jn 10:10) starts in full and in our days on earth at the point in time when we accept that all we have comes from God, and begin to live a life of thanking for even the simplest of things. It is very likely that if our lives are not going quite right, it may be because God is asking humility of us and for us to also thank for the apparent bad things or situations that are happening, as an exercise in respect and obedience to him.

This Sunday, as we celebrate a Thanksgiving Day regarding the harvest, is a unique opportunity to reconnect with God, to accept that just as he is in control of nature, He also wants to have control over our lives so that we may do better in life, to make our lives full of good crops and not only full of failures and bad luck.

I do not know if you know how to pray, I do not care if you can or cannot do it in public. But I would like very much to know that your heart is thankful to God and to know that you can quietly say a prayer to God from the bottom of your heart: ‘Thank you Lord. I thank you for offering me salvation. Lord I give thanks because I have the privilege of belonging, of being able to come to a church where your word is preached, where I can be part of your constant blessing. Thank you Lord that, even though things go wrong in my life, you are now ready to change my life, if I decide to really recognize that all I have comes entirely from you and you are expecting to hear this from me this morning.’ Do not worry if you cannot say a prayer aloud. Rather, be worried about being able to say these words to God from your heart.

I can tell you that if these words are sincere in your life, it not only salvation that God offers, but also the changes that you are perhaps longing for on this day.

May God give us the humility, but also the courage, to honor His name in the church to which we belong with our constant presence and our thanks. God can give us discernment to know that God’s blessing, which multiplies crops in every way, comes from our participation in the church, the community where we meet, ‘where two or three, or more, gather in His name. From there arises the supernatural gifts of the harvest and the blessing of God.

Thank you Lord, for again your word is freely preached in this church. Thank you God, for this seed, so that next year there will be a crop of people that are even more grateful to you in this church.

The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Amen.

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: