Greetings to you all from the congregation at Elim Christian Centre, Glossop, Derbyshire, U.K. I do hope that this finds you well, and if you have been able to have a Summer break, I trust that it has been a time of rest and relaxation and that you feel suitably refreshed. September is always a ‘Landmark’ time of the year in that it marks the end of the holiday season, and the beginning of the new academic year. It also heralds the beginning of the busy lead up period to Christmas.
For the farming community, it represents one of the busiest times of the year as priority is given to the task of gathering in the harvest. Whole farming communities rely on a successful harvest so as to guarantee income and the provision of employment for those who work in this vitally important sector of our economy.
The Lord Jesus Christ, during His ministry here on earth 2,000 years ago, often used the theme of ‘Harvest’ to illustrate some of the basic tenets of His teaching. Agriculture was the predominant sector in the economy of His day, and He often referred to the importance of the seed being sown, and the harvest gathered in. On one such occasion, we read that Jesus was greatly moved as He looked upon the great crowds of people that were thronging to hear Him. The gospel writer Matthew describes how that Jesus was ‘Moved with compassion’ as He saw the people, many of whom were poor, diseased, and destitute. He likened them to sheep that were scattered abroad having no shepherd! As He surveyed this scene, He made the following statement:-
‘PRAY THEREFORE THE LORD OF THE HARVEST TO SEND OUT LABOURERS INTO HIS HARVEST’. (St Matt. 9: 38)
The mission of the Church is to be a people that are willing to engage in the great task of gathering in the harvest; i.e. replicating the example of Jesus in reaching out to the poor and proclaiming the good news of the gospel of the Kingdom. Today’s harvest field finds its expression in those who are struggling to come to terms with the complexities and pressures of 21st century life. The lonely, the fearful, the hurting, and the broken people that we so often see around us. The Church is called upon to manifest something of the compassion that Jesus demonstrated 2,000 years ago. Harvest speaks of fresh provision and hope, qualities that can only be found in knowing Jesus Christ personally.