What is Harvest Festival All About?

First People Were Farmers

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The bible tells us that when God created the first man and his wife, they were tasked with overseeing the Garden of Eden. The man was to work the soil and take care of the garden. Later, he was also tasked with caring for all the animals and he was to live off the produce that grew.

In biblical times, agriculture was extremely important in the Middle East. We read about famines, bumper harvests, treatment of workers and their animals, soil and irrigation.

When Solomon was king, great quantities of grain were exchanged for goods from other nations. Abundant fruit harvests are also mentioned, such as figs, pomegranates, olives and grapes.

All Our Food Comes From God

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God laid down practical rules for agriculture including, for example, the concept of the land being rested every seven year so that the natural nutrients in the soil would not become exhausted. As long as people followed God's rules, harvests for the preceding six years yielded sufficient to cover the seventh year.

The people had to work hard, tilling the ground, sowing the seed, irrigating the land and harvesting the crops. However, they understood that they were totally dependent upon God for a good harvest. Today we still depend on God, even with our powerful machines, chemical fertilizers, insecticides and genetically modified seeds.

People Made a Point of Thanking God

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In biblical times they would thank God for His goodness in sending the rain and sunshine, restraining pests and producing abundant crops. They thanked God at the start of harvest with an offering of the First Fruits. Every good gift came from God, so He should be honoured first. At the end of harvest, they held another celebration known as the Feast of Ingathering.

They thanked God for His goodness, but these celebrations also taught important truths about harvesting the souls of men into the Kingdom of God that was made possible by the personal sacrifice of Jesus Christ – the Son God. This is an event we celebrate at Easter time.

We Thank God at Harvest Festival

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The church today thanks God for His blessings to us each year at our Harvest Thanksgiving service. It is a time when people bring gifts of food, which are then distributed to those who need it, often through food banks.

As well as remembering God's goodness in providing our 'daily bread' we are also reminded that one day (perhaps soon), God will gather together all those who have surrendered control of their lives to Him by believing in Jesus Christ – the Son of God. If that doesn't include you, then it is the most important message you will ever hear.

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