What is a Harvest Service? (and who cares?)
To readers who, like me, are of the urban variety - or those in outside the UK - this may require some explanation. What exactly is ‘Harvest’?
Harvest services here in the UK are when rural churches celebrate the agricultural harvest which affects the surrounding farming community. The closet thing Canadians and Americans have to this is holiday is Thanksgiving. It’s a time where thanks is given for what we have.
Now-a-days many may see such services as dated - as few of those who live in even rural settings are farmers anymore. Perhaps. But though some of the trimmings and trapping surrounding Harvest may be antiquated or nostalgic, it brings us to a too little discussed Biblical doctrine: gratitude.
Now this is more than just a small, side dish issue. Paul puts this at the very centre of the Gospel. He writes that the chief qualities of those who are lost is that they ‘don’t want to glorify God or give him thanks’ (Romans 1.21). Elsewhere, in Ephesians 2, Paul contrasts the heart that receives life as ‘the gift of God’ with those people who ‘boast’.
Which Soul do we Have?
A boasting life is one that sees the good things they have as what they deserve.
A Harvest life sees all they have as a gift.
A bosting life is one that always looks to see if it is being treated fairly.
A Harvest life seeks to give goodness – even to those who don’t deserve it.
A boasting life thinks that it deserves better than what it has.
A Harvest life wonders why it is so rich with goodness.
A boasting life sees those with more and thinks, ‘I should have that.’
A Harvest life sees those with more and are happy for them.
A bosting life sees those with less and thinks, ‘They should’ve worked harder.’
A Harvest life sees those with less and freely gives and shares what they have.
A bosting life thinks that God owes it love and blessing.
A Harvest life is thankful, happy and amazed that God allows it to exist.
A boasting life believes its need for forgiveness is small.
A Harvest life feels the deep conviction that even on its best day, it needs much mercy.
A boasting life can only speculate on why Jesus had to die.
A Harvest life cherishes the cross of Christ more than any earthly possession or relationship.
A boasting life is one of striving and trying to achieve.
A Harvest life is one of rest and gratitude for all that’s been given to it.
The Eternal Trajectory of Harvest
The boasting life is one turned in on itself. The ego grows and it's universe gets cramped. It's seeks to gain it's own life - and therefore loses it. In self absorption, it creates hell - as it travels there.
The Harvest life is one turned outward to God. The ego shrinks and lives in a Universe that gets ever larger and more adventuresome. It's seeks to loses itself in something greater - and therefore finds itself. In self-forgetfulness, it discovers love - as it travels there.