“The Lord will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest.”
- Psalm 85:12
In the small northwest Texas community where I was raised I always knew when harvest time arrived. Cotton being the major crop in that area meant that harvest time began, and still does, in early fall about two months prior to Thanksgiving, often extending well into December. I did not quite experience the harvest first-hand by working in the fields like many of my schoolmates did, as farming was not our family’s primary business. Nevertheless, I knew harvest time had begun when, almost simultaneous with the arrival of the first cold front, the whole atmosphere of the town would change with the constant hum of the cotton gins that could be heard from anyone’s backyard, and the distinctive smell of smoke wafting over the community from the gins’ adjacent incinerators that burned the hulls and stems from which the cotton fibers were extracted.
In an agricultural community like my hometown the harvest means everything, not just to the farmers, but literally every person, business, and service provider. The bankers receive loan repayments, merchants who at one time extended credit throughout the year get repaid, bank accounts are fattened, and money becomes available for purchase of all sorts of necessities, and even a few luxuries. Likewise, a crop failure could be devastating for the entire community and region. Everything depends on the harvest. It is the lifeblood of the economy.
This week we celebrate Thanksgiving, established as a day of giving thanks and sacrifice for the blessing of the harvest. As the majority of us in our urbanized society are no longer engaged directly in agriculture, we often feel disconnected from it, notwithstanding our appreciation of those who produce the food that goes on our tables. Instead, our harvests come in different forms. While farmers must depend on proper amounts of rain and sunshine, and protection from hailstorms, floods, insects, or plant diseases, the rest of us depend on the viability of our employers, the loyalty of our customers and clients, the protection of our communities, homes, and families from disease or injury. In other words, in whatever form it takes we all depend on the harvest. May we never lose faith that “the Lord will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest.” And may we take a moment this week to give thanks for harvest time.