Thursday, 19 October 2017

The one who sows ...

"The one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully"
I grew up in a country where water is treated with great respect.  Australians  know what it is like to live in a country that suffers from drought. They know the value of water.  They know what it’s like to have restrictions on water. So, when the rain comes, people give thanks for they can see the power rain has.  Rain will transform the landscape in ways that are breathtaking.

There is place called the wheat belt, it’s found about 70 miles east of Perth.  You can drive for hundreds of miles through land that has been transformed into fields of gold wheat.  The challenge for farmers in Australia is they must decide when the rain will come?

Or whether the rain will come at all.

They must make a very big decision on whether to sow sparingly, for fear of rain not coming.  Or to sow bountifully, hoping the rain will come and the harvest will be bountiful.  The farmer faces a difficult decision that could affect him quite badly economically if he gets it wrong.

For those who work on the land, harvest is a time of looking back and maybe asking questions:

Did I plant at the right time?

Did the rains come when I expected?

Was there enough sunlight?

All those questions are answered for them at harvest. 

We should pray for those all famers across the globe who work the land and take such a great risks. Give thanks for those who have received a bountiful harvest;

and pray for those who found the harvest has not been as rewarding as they would have hoped.

(We should also support those that bring aid to those countries where the harvest has failed)

For us, we can so easily take all of this for granted. 

The challenges faced by many to bring wheat in the form of bread to our tables can be forgotten by countless.

What about our harvest?

What have we harvested this year?

In our lives and in our actions to others?

In the opening reading we are reminded by Paul that

“the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully”

Like the farmer, we too had to take risks this year.

Was the effort that we made this year sufficient for us to say is been a good year?  That we have had a good harvest?

I believe that this reference:

“the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully”

is not only for the farmers, but for us here and now.

Did we give to those communities where we live, work and serve as much as we could?

Did we support them as best we could?


Did we hedge our bets?

And only give sparingly?

There are many the reason for acting sparingly, one is out of fear.  It is fear that holds us back.  We become fearful of failure and so we don’t act.  Without knowing it we set the bar to high.

In some cases, we may need to simply replace the word should with could.*

When we use the word should we put extra pressure on ourselves.  “I should have won the race” puts pressure on us.  If we fail.

Whereas the word ‘could,’ gives us space.

“I could have won the race” gives us room to look at the situation, to reflect and try better next time with more preparation.

So as we reflect on our year, on our harvest, let remember what we could have done for the rugby club, tennis club the Ark or the Church. What was our mission during the year and our aims for outreach.

Whatever it was we all need a moment to reflect on what we could have given or done.

More importantly; harvest is a time to give thanks for what we have received from the bounty of the land, and from others.

Whether you’re a farmer or a city dweller.  Harvest is a good time to simply pray and reflect:

Did I sow sparingly Lord this year? or did I sow bountifully?

Fr Mark Chadwick

Sermon preached at Harvest 2017

*The idea of the difference between should and could is more fully explored in The Chimp Paradox: The Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence and Happiness by Prof Steve Peters

This sermon is one of a series given as part of our Faith Confirmed programme.  A series of talks, classes, sermons and groups for Harvest, Advent and Christmas 2017-18

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