Happy October – Harvest Time! Even in the heart of this sprawling metropolis where I live, less than a mile from the border of Detroit and many miles from any farm, harvest themes abound. Already in our neighborhood, harvest decorations featuring pumpkins and cornstalks, hay bales, colored corn, and gourds are popping up everywhere. Cider mills visits are in order for many of us.
My wife and I observe an annual “fall drive” ritual. We pick a Sunday in October and take a day-long meandering drive through a region south of where we live that is marked by windy blacktop roads threading through a beautiful river valley bordered by striking vistas of Michigan hardwoods decked out in autumn color. For many years, we stopped a Roger’s Produce Farm for a horse-drawn hayride back into their fields to pick out a couple pumpkins right from the patch where they were grown.
Something about harvest time, even for us city dwellers…..In harvest observances, we find renewal for our parched and weary spirits. I don’t expect many to argue with me on this. However, attaching harvest time to God may give rise to a few objections. But try this idea on for a moment – that harvest time is given by God to draw us to himself. Consider these comments by Paul in the book of Acts during a missionary trip to the town of Iconium in what is now modern-day Turkey.
In the past he (God) permitted all the nations to go their own ways, but he never left them without evidence of himself and his goodness. For instance, he sends you rain and good crops and gives you food and joyful hearts. (Acts 14: 16-17, NLT)
Here Paul was attempting to deflect his audience from worshiping him, Paul, for miracles the Lord allowed him to perform in support of the gospel message he presented. God is the source of miracles not to mention the bountiful harvests they routinely enjoy. However, they refused to accept his claims.
But even with these words, Paul and Barnabas could scarcely restrain the people from sacrificing to them. (Acts 14:16-18, NLT)
Like these Iconiums, we attribute our harvests and prosperity and good fortune to mother nature or effort or just about anything than God. Conversely, Paul’s words mirror many statements in the Bible that God is the one and only source of all such goodness as bountiful harvests, prosperity, well-being, nature, fresh air, enjoyment of life and on and on. That we fail to attribute any or all of this to God is on us, not God.
If you are a believer or an aspiring believer, note Paul’s comments here about “why” God provides in this manner – to never leave us without evidence of himself and his goodness.
God doesn’t abandon us to figure out life on our own. He is near and actively providing evidence of himself – as near as our harvest observances this autumn.
This post was initially published on October 1, 2012 at my former site, farmingtonglenn.net.