Harvest Thanksgiving - Reflection

‘My food,’ said Jesus, ‘is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.’ John 4:34

Brothers and sisters, what keeps you going? You know how you wake up and it’s raining outside and even putting a toe out of the warm covers of your bed seems like a big ask, you get up and get dressed and if you’re anything like me, you feel like you need a big warm, hearty breakfast to keep you going.

Perhaps you’re one of those people who has a favourite song that perks you up whenever you’ve had a rough day. You might fall out with someone at school or work but there’s a favourite singer you listen to who makes takes your mind off how hard things are. I’m even partial to a little Abba on such occasions, though perhaps that should remain a private confession. 

You will know the phrase ‘the bread and butter of life.’ That very phrase comes from the idea that bread and butter are sustaining for people, day after day. We often consume these things and never even really think about them but they’re the things that keep us going, on and on, the things that pull us through on the rainy days like the one this week. But what we’re going to talk about today is what we see when we look at what sustains Jesus, according to our Gospel reading today.

Jesus tells us that his food, his ‘bread and butter’, is to do the will of God the Father and to finish His work (John 4:34). The thing that sustains Jesus, the thing that keeps him going and picks him up, is to do the will of God. 

Now that’s already an amazing thing isn’t it? And even though many of us will know the feeling of sustenance that comes from serving God, it’s hard for us to imagine giving up the things that sustain us physically in favour of serving God. I think actually that the world today is more materialistic than it has ever been, we don’t really do ‘bread and butter’ so much anymore. A few decades ago the thought of having a TV in every room in the house was alien, having three cars to a house was unheard of, children having hand-held smart phones that could play videos would have sounded like science-fiction and, yet, today it’s a reality. The world is increasingly obsessed with having the latest thing and people are increasingly trying to find spiritual sustenance in the material items that they can own. When people have a bad day, more and more we think – and I do it too – we think ‘oh let’s get a takeaway’ or buy something to pick us up again. Trying to sustain ourselves with those things is even more appealing than trying to sustain ourselves with bread and butter but, equally, they don’t fill the hole that needs to be filled for us to be sustained healthily. The thing that sustained Jesus wasn’t any of that stuff, it wasn’t even food. Jesus’ bread and butter was to do the will of God the Father.

So, what is the thing that keeps you going? That gets you up and out of bed? For Jesus it was doing God’s work.

But what does God’s work mean here, how could that really be the thing that sustained Jesus, how could that be his food? Jesus tells us, the crop that makes up his diet of serving the Father is you! “Open your eyes and look at the fields!” Jesus says, “They are ripe for harvest.” A harvest of people, way more impressive than the food we gather together at this time of year, the harvest that Jesus was reaping in was a harvest of people, not crops, not iPhones, he was excited and sustained by the thought of harvesting of you and me. The thing that sustained Jesus was taking you and me and making it so that we could have a restored relationship with God.

The field are ripe for the harvest, the people of Chorley need to hear that good news; that they can have a relationship with God, through faith in Jesus. Not telling people the good news would be even worse than not harvesting our crops.  And this is not just a job for me and Fr Mike, it is a job for all of us.

Let’s make telling others about Jesus – that they can be made right with God the Father through him – the thing that motivates us. And if you have been touched by this message and want to give your own life to God, to have a right relationship with him, perhaps if you feel that something just isn’t right in your life and you need to do something, speak to me or Fr Mike or come to our wonderful Christianity explored course on a Monday night 8pm next door. It is never too late to come to know your God, or to share Jesus with the world. Amen.(from Fr Jordan).