I’m currently working on some sermon resources for Harvest for churches to go with an Emergency Food Appeal for Malawi.
My idea is to use the OT laws on Harvest to talk about the responsibility that we have as “haves” to the world’s “have nots” The OT says those who are blessed with abundance at Harvest have to provide for those in need out of that abundance.
I’m going to use this passage from Deuteronomy 24
When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over them again. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not strip it afterward. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I command you to do this
Here’s my general thoughts …..The OT laws were given in part to shape God’s people into a nation that reflected God’s character to the surrounding nations and we can distill from them principles that we should still live by today , as just like Israel we are called to be “light to the world” A people who reflect God’s character in our actions.
You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I command you to do this
This passage describes God’s people Israel as those who have experienced God’s generous love when he freed them from Israel and gave them the promised land . As slaves Israel had been among the “have nots” of the world , now through God’s generosity and blessings with abundant harvests they were among the “haves.”.God commands them to follow his example of caring for those who are vulnerable and in need by providing for them food from their abundant harvest fields.
Today living as God’s people in the West we are certainly among the “haves” of the world and so we have a responsibility to treat with generosity the “have nots” of our communities and world.
Right now among the most desperately in need “have nots” in our world are the people of Malawi, a nation facing imment serious famine if food aid doesn’t arrive soon. We, like those ancient Israelite farmers, have more than we need and so like them, have a responsibility to share with those who are desperately in need.
So what do you think?
What strikes you about the passage?
What ideas do you have for preaching this passage?
Any ideas for titles?
A possibly random thought. Today it is much easier for us to live without having much personal contact with the hungry. In fact, in the US looking at the proliferation of eating places, specialist food stores, food related media and food *waste* an outside might conclude that no+one goes hungry in this country. So far from the truth. I believe that a missing link is personal contact with hungry people. How about using a taped interview with a hungry person (was hungry?) as part of your sermon?
Blessings as you carry God’s word!