I read an article the other day, reminding us that the season we commonly call “Fall” today used to go by a different name. Before the seventeenth century in Britain, many people lived a more agrarian life; naming seasons in relation to their farming practices. So what we call “Fall” today, due to the leaves “falling” from the trees, was once called “Harvest,” a word meaning to gather or pluck.
It is interesting to think about how names really display how one views a season. Are we focusing on the falling leaves and the impending hibernation of winter, or are we focusing on the fruit of summer’s growth and our activity of storing and preparing for the next season?
I love the emphasis of harvest, which is all about celebrating the fruit of our labors, gathering together what God has provided, and preparing for what is coming next.
The season of Harvest evokes for me the words of Jesus from the end of Matthew 9. Jesus looks out over the crowds who have been following him around, many of whom were blind, deaf, mute, or sick. They were people in need of hope, having been harassed and feeling helpless. Jesus sees their need and is deeply moved, saying they are like, “sheep without a shepherd.”
But then he says something different: the harvest is plentiful.
Where we might see overwhelming need, Jesus sees something else: a plentiful harvest!
Where we might see the leaves falling, our God sees incredible potential for work to be done!
Where we might see a world in disarray, Jesus sees a need for prayer for a larger workforce of servants!
As you are aware, we have been in a season of transition here at HopeSprings. Our staff looks different than it did last year. There are those who have moved on to other endeavors. We have been adjusting to a changing climate of funding and work concerning HIV. If I’m being honest, it could be easy to look at some of these changes at call it “fall” instead of “harvest.”
And yet, in this time, my prayer has been this: “God, help me see the world more like you see it.” I’m convinced that God sees opportunity and potential, especially in the places I might not see it. I am starting to see that this season with HopeSprings is a time where we can celebrate what has come before and prepare for what is coming next. It is a time for Harvest!
Usually this time of year we prepare for our annual fundraising dinner. In consultation with the board, I have chosen not hold our annual banquet this year. While we love gathering together to celebrate what we see God doing, we felt it was a better use of resources to pause this year, and take the time to do some good evaluative work to prepare for the future. We feel like this is good stewardship of what we’ve been given.
In lieu of our Fall banquet, I am inviting you to consider giving in a different sort of way this year. Would you consider investing in this key year of growth, giving a Harvest Gift? Many of you purchased tickets last year for our dinner and also gave generously to the ongoing work of HopeSprings.
**I’m inviting you to give at least what you would normally pay for a ticket ($75) to our Harvest campaign, and also adding a one-time or recurring donation to that gift.**