Across the Pastor’s Desk: A harvest of our God’s gifts

Published 10:21 pm Thursday, September 21, 2017

Across the Pastor’s Desk by Josh Enderson

In the book of Deuteronomy, the Israelites are given a formal ceremony for how to give to God the first fruits of the harvest. There are prescriptions on where it is to be brought, what you are to bring, to whom it is to be given, etc.

At the heart of this ceremony is a long dialogue that the worshiper is to say. In it, the worshiper proclaims all of the great works that God has done in the lives of the Israelites: hearing the cries of God’s people in Egypt, leading them from slavery by great signs and wonders, and bringing them to their own land.

Joshua Enderson

Email newsletter signup

The worshiper is reminded through this act that all that their life and sustenance is not something that they alone produce. Above all, it is a gift from God.

The final line of this response is, “So now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground that you, O Lord, have given to me.” (Deuteronomy 26:10)

We give back a portion of what God has already given to us.

Living in the midst of an agricultural area reminds us all of the reality of this act. We can plant the seed, fertilize it and water it. But, in the end, we cannot make the plant grow.

We cannot make the sun shine. We cannot make the rain fall. And, as we harvest the bounty of this process, it’s helpful to remind ourselves just how little we actually make happen in this process.

We must rely on the sun to shine, the rain to fall, and the mystery of nature for the plant to grow. Our bounty is reliant upon these forces that our outside of our control. Our sustenance comes ultimately from God, not ourselves.

So, in this season of harvest, we take a moment to thank God for the bounty before us. We thank God for all of the blessing that are given to us. And, we take a moment to return a portion of that back to God, as a sign of thanks for this blessing.

In what ways can you say thank you to God this season? How can you return back to God a portion of what God has first given to you? Perhaps it’s to your local congregation, or maybe to a community organization that helps those in need. Whatever the destination of the gift, we give it joyfully, praising God for the ability to give out of what we have been first given.

Josh Enderson is the pastor at Hayward and Trondhjem Lutheran churches.