Texans old and new tend to greet fall with greater joy than many others around the nation. After the summers we have down here, the cooler temperatures are viewed as a gift from God. I’ve always loved a change in seasons – an amazing aspect of God’s design of the planet. “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease (Genesis 8:22).”
Anselm of Canterbury, the great twelfth-century philosopher, described the planet’s design this way. Imagine you’ve never seen a pocket watch and one day you stumble upon one. You look at the gold, read the inscription, see the crystal face and moving hands…you open the back and see all of the gears and springs. The first and most natural conclusion is that if there is a watch, there must be a watchmaker. It didn’t just happen. It was created.
And in November we celebrate one of those great aspects of God’s creation: harvest. Ancient Israel’s celebration of the harvest was called Sukkot – filled with much food, family, friends, and national pride. Our own celebration – Thanksgiving – looks very similar (just add football).
The idea of harvest has sort of a double-meaning in the Scriptures. On the one hand, harvest describes the natural, seasonal production of the land. Harvest is partly divine providence.
Just ask those first pilgrims who survived the first Plymouth winter – to a person they were grateful for God’s providence and provision.
But harvest also describes human effort. Solomon reminds us: “A sluggard does not plow in season; so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing (Proverbs 20:4).” Harvest and work are intricately related.
Again, ask those pilgrims. After barely surviving the first winter, they knew better what to expect – and spent a whole year preparing for the next one. When the second winter came, they were ready.
So, this Thanksgiving, let’s commit to having a true harvest celebration. Let us thank God for his providence in our lives and families, for our wonderful nation, and for our dear friends. But let us also take a moment to think about the harvest of our lives…what are we producing? None of us wants to get to the “ultimate harvest” and look but find nothing.
Jim Mann, Ph.D. pastors New Life Church at Robson Ranch. This interdenominational church meets at the Robson Clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 8:30 a.m. Visit www.newlifedenton.org for more information or www.drjimmann.com.