‘Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not: and let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not.’ Ruth 2:15–16
Suggested Further Reading: Psalm 104:10–15
We are too apt to think that we are independent of the operations of the country, that our trade, our commerce, our manufactures, are sufficient to support us; forgetting all the while that in vain is yonder forest of masts unless the earth shall yield her fruit; in vain the emporium, the exchange, and the place of merchandise, unless the land be ploughed and harrowed, and at last yield to the husbandman his reward. I would that I could recall to your memories, you dwellers in the city, how much you depend upon the Lord God of the earth for your daily bread. Does your food fall like manna from the skies? Do you create it at the forge, or fashion it in the loom or on the wheel? Does it not come from the earth, and is it not the Lord who gives to the fertile womb of earth the power to yield its harvests? Does not the dew come from heaven, and the sunshine from above, and do these not bring to us our bread as well as to those who abide in the midst of the fields? Let us not forget this time of the harvest, nor be unthankful for the bounty of the wheatsheaf; let us not forget to plead with God that he would be pleased to give us suitable weather for the ingathering of the precious grain, and when it shall be ingathered, let us not sullenly keep silence, but with the toiling labourers who, well-pleased, behold the waving yellow crop, let us lift up the shout of harvest home, and thank the God who covers the valleys with corn, and crowns the year with his goodness.
For meditation: Today there is a tendency for churches to regard Harvest Thanksgiving as an out-of-date tradition. When the children of Israel were about to enter the promised land, Moses told them all the material blessings that God had in store for them (Deuteronomy 8:7–10) and warned them to beware of taking God’s provision for granted once they had settled down (Deuteronomy 8:11–18). Do you need to think again?
Sermon no. 464
10 August (1862)