October 2008

A True Harvest

Our Harvest Sunday this year is on the 5th October. Throughout September we have been collecting money and used tools for Tools with a Mission. After refurbishment, the tools are sent to African nations and become the means of people working their way out of poverty. Many containers loads have been sent by TWAM and distributed by their African partners. This is truly recycling as it is meant to be!

It is good to give in response to the many blessings we daily receive from God. To give from the excess of material worth that we have and to make sure things we no longer need are re-used. But I wonder if there is more. Are we giving because we should or is there true joy in generosity?

John Claypool in Life Isn't Fair, Thank God, tells of an old rabbinic parable about a farmer that had two sons. As soon as they were old enough to walk, he took them to the fields and he taught them everything that he knew about growing crops and raising animals. When he got too old to work, the two boys took over the chores of the farm and when the father died, they had found their working together so meaningful that they decided to keep their partnership. So each brother contributed what he could and during every harvest season, they would divide equally what they had corporately produced. As the years rolled by, the elder brother never married and became an old bachelor. The younger brother did marry and had eight wonderful children.

Some years later when they were having a wonderful harvest, the old bachelor brother thought to himself one night, "My brother has ten mouths to feed. I only have one. He really needs more of this harvest than I do, but I know he is much too fair to renegotiate. I know what I'll do. In the dead of the night when he is already asleep, I'll take some of what I have put in my barn and I'll slip it over into his barn to help him feed his children.

At the very time he was thinking down that line, the younger brother was thinking to himself, "God has given me these wonderful children who will support me as I grow old. My brother hasn't been so fortunate. He really needs more of this harvest for his old age than I do. But I know him, he's much too fair. He'll never renegotiate. I know what I'll do. In the dead of the night when he's asleep, I'll take some of what I've put in my barn and slip it over into his barn."

And so one night when the moon was full, as you may have already anticipated, those two brothers came face to face, each on a mission of generosity.

The old rabbi said that even though there wasn't a cloud in the sky, a gentle rain began to fall. You know what it was? God weeping for joy because two of his children had gotten the point. Two of his children had come to realize that generosity is the deepest characteristic of the holy and because we are made in God's image, our being generous is the secret to our joy as well.


October 2008