Monday, 23 September 2013

Harvest - need or greed, a time to take stock

Living in a country which is one of the richest, economically, in the world can give us a false sense of what is what. I recently saw that the use of Food banks in England has shot up over the last year and certainly there are many who through no fault of their own are struggling financially while others are in that place because they have over extended themselves to have what they want.

As I have been preparing for harvest, I have been wondering how this compares to say farming families in the drought ridden or war torn parts of Africa? What about those in areas of the world where our first world "needs" have resulted in stripping the land bare and then produced landslips and floods when the rains come down? Is it about need or greed, our desire to live well and prosperously, their desire simply to survive? Gandhi said, many years back that "the world has enough for everyone's need but not for everyone's greed."

Its easy to put such things as famine, drought and war out of our minds as we seek to provide ourselves with a good standard of living, I include myself in this! Jesus said we would always have the poor with us so maybe we can put up a case for looking the other way. However we have also been given responsibility for God's creation, all of it. So I don't think we can simply get on with our lives and look away. Often it is our very way of life that is creating the ecological and other problems that mean 3rd world counties cannot produce enough food, have adequate medicines and have to cope with drought and flood.

The church I am in is supporting the Baptist Missionary Society's' Hungry campaign this Harvest to help farmers in Uganda recover the land that is rightly theirs but through war they have been dispossessed of. Check it out if your are interested.

The point, it seems to me, is that if, as Christians, we want to be in tune with God's heart, them justice and mercy are absolutely key. Christ's compassion for humanity meant that he did something amazing for all of us, gave us life through his death. Is it time for each of us to take stock and give more of the bounty we receive, in compassion, to those who struggle to survive? To curtain our greed so that we can meet their need? Will any of our children or grandchildren die of easily curable or preventable diseases or malnutrition or flood?

Harvest is a celebration of God's plentiful provision for all, salvation, love and life. Lets praise God for all we have and lets be fair in how we share it.