June 20, 2017

An Abundant Harvest

Luke 12:13-21

The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do?'

—  Luke 12:16-17

This past year my garden was prolific. At the peak of its output of beans, squash, peppers, tomatoes, and more, we could not eat and preserve the produce fast enough. Secretly I took pride in the fruits of my hard work. And, strangely, the more I did that, the more possessive I became.

My father-in-law, who taught me most of what I know about gardening, has always been a wonderful corrective to my pride and perverse possessiveness. From time to time, he will say something like “You have good dirt.”

The parable told by Jesus about greed has an even greater impact. Did you notice that “the ground” is the star of the show? The ground of an already rich man “yielded an abundant harvest.” This is a humbling ­reminder for all farmers and gardeners.

An abundant harvest depends on good ground and so much more. Blinded by pride in our own efforts, we lose sight of God, others, and the delight of being generous with God’s gifts. In a word, we become fools in the sight of God, the good and perfect giver of life and of all that is needed for our lives. The person who is “rich toward God” is ever learning to be grate­ful and generous with the produce from God’s garden.

Jesus, thank you for warning against “all kinds of greed” and the pride that fuels it. Teach me true humility that produces gratitude for your good gifts. and generosity that reflects a rich life in you. Amen.

About the author — Don Byker

Don Byker has been a pastor since 1984 in various churches and institutional settings. Don and his wife, Donna, are the parents of four adult children, two of whom are married. Donna and Don are also the glad grandparents of three granddaughters. Currently Don is serving in a rural church in Michigan full of gardeners.

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