harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few, therefore ask the Lord of
the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest." (Luke 10:2)
Maritimes are experiencing a shortage of skilled workers at the moment.
Many skilled people are out in the Alberta oil patch. Plenty of employment
in one place means fewer workers elsewhere. It's one example of the
tension that exists between abundance and scarcity.
scholars often refer to Jesus as an itinerant preacher. It means that
Jesus walked a lot--from one end of Palestine to another. As he
traveled he preached about the kingdom of God. In his travels, during the
several harvest seasons of Palestine, Jesus would pass by fields rich with
grapes, olives, grains and the like. Ancient Palestine had only the most
basic tools for harvesting. Harvest time was labor intensive. It was
important to get the crop out of the field as quickly as possible. A
shortage of workers meant a slow harvest with an increased risk to the
valuable crop. "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are
few..." Abundance in the field might be compromised by a scarcity of
workers. Jesus used this serious situation as a metaphor for mission.
There are so many opportunities to bring in the kingdom of God. Will too
few disciples compromise the abundance of God's kingdom?
and abundance are found in most societies both ancient and modern. It is
not unusual for prosperity and want to be found in the same community.
Jesus encountered many poor people living near those fields of plenty. The
homeless poor of today are found trying to get by on streets thriving with
business and commerce.
world encourages us to celebrate Thanksgiving with an abundance of family,
friends, and food. It's a theme that graces the covers of magazines at
this time of year. The Harvest festivals described in Scripture link
gratitude with generosity and justice. I think Harvest Thanksgiving
presents a particular challenge to Christians to bridge the gap between
scarcity and abundance. We bridge some of the gap between scarcity and
abundance when we take time to pray for someone or to spend time with
them. We bridge the gap between scarcity and abundance when we share our
talents and abilities in order to improve the life and vitality of our
community. We bridge the gap between scarcity and abundance when we share
our income, according to our means, for the work and mission of our church
and for charities in the wider community.
is important to observe Thanksgiving by numbering our blessings.
However, Thanksgiving is also a time to measure abundance in terms of our
relationships with others. Let's understand discipleship as our abundant
and generous response to scarcity and need, as we build up the community
Rev. Canon Rod Gillis