Ouch! Jesus’ words, directed at the Pharisees who constantly test him, point to the importance of bearing fruit. God promises an abundant harvest with more than enough to share, but we must do our part to cultivate, nurture, and bring to fullness all the bountiful gifts of God, both in our own lives and in the Body of Christ.
Share your harvest, if you are able
John the Baptist went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins…. And the crowds asked him, “What then should we do?” In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” – Luke 3:4, 10-11
God’s people have traditionally given thanks and celebrated God’s abundance at harvest time, when farmers close out their growing season. In 2020, North Americans once again rejoice that our land has produced plenty of food. And many Americans, blessed with stable jobs and rebounding investments, can give thanks for a harvest of financial and personal blessings as well.
But millions of us and our neighbors are struggling. Covid-19 has caused massive joblessness, pushing countless families into poverty. Hunger and homelessness are skyrocketing. Federal, state and local safety-net programs are breaking, and food banks, shelters and other charities are overwhelmed.
The rising need presents an opportunity for God’s people who are blessed with more than enough to help siblings in need. This year, consider celebrating your harvest of blessings not only by giving thanks but also by donating generously – of your time, talent, money or goods – to a local food bank, homeless shelter, soup kitchen or charity. Our congregations could lead this effort with a campaign, “Harvest of Giving.”
Our hurting, struggling neighbors need to know not only that Covid-related misfortune is not their fault, but also that God and God’s people are standing with them, supporting them with love and help. The best way is for those who are blessed with an abundant harvest to share it with those whose harvests are lean.
Copyright © 2020, Rev. Robert Blezard. Pastor Blezard serves as an assistant to the bishop of the Lower Susquehanna Synod, ELCA, and works as content editor for www.stewardshipoflife.org.