Harvest is reminder to be grateful for blessings that endure

“O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.” — 1 Chronicles 16:34

Over the past several weeks, I have rested quietly in my home listening to the sounds of combines running through the fields around my home, listening to the sounds of grain being loaded into silos and semis and watching fields of abundance become barren.

The harvest of 2016 is underway. Actually, it is now nearly complete. I noticed last week the field directly behind my home is now bare. It is one of the last to be harvested, so I know the farmers are about to receive a well-earned rest.

I am thankful. It’s been a safe harvest and a plentiful harvest, and the weather was excellent for growing and harvesting. God has blessed the people. We have more than enough to eat, and it is in evidence each day as we watch it being planted and tended in the spring, growing throughout the summer and being harvested in the fall.

This land is so enriched by the hand of God, we could be considered “favored.” I believe that to be true. No other nation is so blessed as the USA. We are taught from infancy that we can be whatever we want to be and do whatever we want to do, so long as we follow the Word of God and the laws of the land — just two conditions. We have more freedom than any other people in the world. Yet we grumble.

On the day after Election Day, I’ve seen and heard much grumbling. We grumble because things did not go as we wanted them to go. Our candidate did not win. Our concerns went unnoticed. Our resolution did not get passed.

Yet our freedom remains intact. We were able to vote in peace and harmony. Our forefathers fought, and some died, for the rights we so much take for granted today. God granted them their hopes and dreams. Praise God for those forefathers! God has blessed us with many freedoms, for which we should thank Him constantly.

This Thanksgiving we will gather with family and friends around tables all over America to enjoy one another’s company, to laugh, to remember and to enjoy the largest bounty of food ever enjoyed in the history of mankind. We will eat until we can barely walk. We will eat too much … because we are blessed so much. Let’s not forget to include God in our celebrations of the harvest.

“The Lord will command the blessing on you in your barns and in all that you undertake. And he will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” — Deuteronomy 28:8

The Rev. Marianne Nichols is pastor of Charlottesville United Methodist Church. This weekly column is written by local clergy members.