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A Good Harvest

October 4, 2015

Sunday of Thanksgiving for the Harvestcosecha

“Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest.  He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

Luke 12:13-21

Today, and next weekend too, there should be real feasts. Take a Gratitude Challenge during this time:

We always talk about counting our blessings—let’s do it! At home, write it down a list of 100 things you are thankful for. Some might think that is too many. If that is the case, try this:

Write 10 living people you are grateful for.
Write 10 people who have died that you are grateful for.
Write 10 physical abilities you are grateful for.
Write 10 material possessions you are grateful for.
Write 10 things about nature you are grateful for.
Write 10 things about today you are grateful for.
Write 10 places on earth you are grateful for.
Write 10 modern-day inventions you are grateful for.
Write 10 foods you are grateful for.
Write 10 things about the gospel you are grateful for.
When we make a list like this, we discover that a list of 100 doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of all the things God has given us.

And why is that? Because when we start to acknowledge and thank not only others but also God for everything that we have, we begin to appreciate our blessings. People usually look at what is missing and not to what they already have. Most people are of the mindset that sees the glass as half empty and not as half full. And when we behave in that way, we are not pleasing to God.

There are many who may say that it is not that they are ungrateful, they say they don’t want to be conformists; they want to achieve perfection, or excellence, in things. But we know that there are no perfect things. Only God is perfect. Many times we cannot thank because we have been raised in an environment with constant criticism and hard demands. We’ve been told that things shouldn’t be done in the way we have done them. And every time when we did something, especially when we were children, we were criticized and we were told we had to do better than that, because what we did was not good enough, it was not right; it was not “perfect”. And we grew up with that mentality, and, unfortunately, most of us also raise our children in the same way. And if that is not stopped at some point in time, we will go on, not knowing that criticism does not lead anywhere. Criticism does not lead to perfection; criticism only leads to being more critical and less grateful, to less recognition of all we can be thankful for. Criticism doesn’t allow us to be grateful. We must be grateful and less critical.

God wants us to be perfect, but perfect in love, perfect in faith and trust in Him, perfect in obedience to His word and perfect in accomplishing the things He asks of us for His world. And the blessing or award for seeking perfection in the things of God is that He will give us the things that we may be looking for: ‘the material blessings’ of this life that are included with our salvation. That is why we are told in Matthew 6: 25 ff: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
These verses teach us that whoever wants to be rich in this life and live a life full of real blessings must be rich toward God first.

God is a God of love, he always wants to bless and He wants us to obtain salvation. But for this we must first recognize that He is God, who is the creator of all that exists and that he also created each one of us. The life we have today; if we are here today in this church, breathing, it is because he wants it, not because the doctor acted. The doctor’s life also belongs to God. God can heal, God can bring the dead back to life, God can make the poor prosperous, God can change the weather and can dictate the size of the harvest. God can change the external circumstances of any person, community, church, city or government with the blink of an eye. How many countries and governments throughout history have seemed eternal and unchangeable yet have disappeared from the face of the earth and are no more, but the word of God continues: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” Jesus tells us (Mt 24 : 35).

On this day on which we remember the day of thanksgiving according to the European tradition and during the next week-end according to the Canadian tradition, God wants to speak to each of us with the words of the Gospel for today, with a strong message from Jesus himself:
“You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’” Who are the fools? I always wondered about this word in Spanish, it is not a very common word. According to the dictionary fool means: ignorant and that he or she didn’t know what he or she could or should have known; negligent or lacking in reason; stubborn and obstinate in what he does or says; not wise.’
Of course, this definition applies in relation to our belief in God, to accepting God’s Word, to beginning to put the things of God in the first place in our life. It applies to accepting that in real life it is God that allows me to work, progress, to prosper, to get things, to become rich and to make my family life full of every blessing. These things come from God, and he gives them and he takes them away. But it is not just that He takes away in life, but that in the case of the parable of the rich fool, the fool loses not only all his wealth, but also his life and, more importantly, his salvation.
These words from Jesus are hard, but true. But happily these words from Jesus apply only to fools and not to us here today. We take for granted that those of us who are here today know that it is God who gives life and who is our Lord and Savior and that we want to honor only Him when we come to church every Sunday. We want to obey Him because the blessing that we have in our lives depend on Him. When we turn away from God, we part ways with God and we begin to live a life in our own way, but without the blessing of God.

Many people think, as we said last Sunday that all they have achieved in life was through their own efforts and their own intelligence and their own hard work. But today’s gospel tells us that all that we have comes from God; that God allows us to get all the material we have and that it is God who gives life. That’s the most important aspect of today’s message. If you can go home knowing that it is God who gives you everything, starting with your life, and you accept this, He will give you all and you will retain everything you have and you even will increase it because everything will be done according to your commitment to Him. And not least of all, after this life of faith, your trust and your commitment will give you eternal salvation. However this salvation is not for everyone. Don’t think this is wrong, God is love and good. But, It will be as we say every Sunday in church: ‘He will also come to judge the living and the dead’ “We will see a trial; but only the ‘fools’ according to today’s parable will be found guilty at that trial. But not us, who have decided to love Him and believe in Him, believing that He is our Lord and God and Creator of all that exists and that He wants to give us a bountiful harvest full of everything and that that starts in this life on earth. That’s the promise of greater harvest that we want to share today. And for this reason we want to be grateful. The moment you begin to give thanks, everything begins to change in your life. You feel better every day when you start the day thanking for everything, even for the things that are happening in your life that you don’t understand. It calms your breathing; your heart rate returns to normal, your health and your physical life begin to improve because you decided to put your trust in God. You’ve decided to start being wise and smart and know that if you’re a member of God’s family everything starts to improve in your life and of course beyond this.

Before going to bed this evening, I encourage you to do the exercise of counting the things you are grateful for. Practice and you’ll begin to get better. Stop criticizing and complaining, rather thank and see that the love of God begins to cover your life and change things that seem to not move. Jesus wants to bless us, wants us to live well, happily and cheerful. For this, we must begin to be grateful to him for everything we have. May the miracles produced by grateful people touch every one of us today.
Our Lord, for each new morning with its light, for rest and shelter of the night, for health and food, for love and friends, for everything your goodness sends. Amen.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. margkahl permalink
    October 4, 2015 2:58 pm

    thank you. Margaret

    On Sun, Oct 4, 2015 at 3:58 PM, Pilgrim Evangelical Lutheran Church

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