Thursday, October 29, 2009

Harvesting God's Abundance

This photo of my teammates and me was taken during
our time of formation for the 410th Women's Cursillo Weekend.
The idea of harvesting God's abundance has been on my mind this month since last October I was on team for a Cursillo weekend that spent months examining how we are called to gather the multitude of blessings the Lord showers upon us.
In the theme song of the Cursillo Movement, "De Colores," there’s a verse that speaks to the “Harvesting God’s Abundance” theme of the 410th Central Virginia Women’s Cursillo Weekend.  “Joyfully, joyfully/ we will bring to our Savior/a harvest of souls/Pouring outward the light from within/The grace of our God, His infinite life.” I can almost hear the excited “pio, pio, pio” of our brand new babe chicks…or maybe that’s the slightly muffled sound of a stolen bell.
For a plentiful harvest, seeds must be planted in fertile soil that has been tilled. Our minds and hearts need to be prepared to receive God’s Word. As it says in Ecclesiastes, there is a time to plant and a time to reap. The hard work of preparing the soil and planting are necessary, though they may not feel as rewarding as the part of the process when the harvest is ready.
Sometimes it seems as if we are throwing seeds into the wind when we share our faith with others, either as part of a church ministry or as part of who we are every day because the seeds we sow aren’t always the ones we reap. Sometimes we see the results of our toil, and other times we see the fruits of our labor and love mixed in with the efforts of many others along the way finally yield the crop longed for and conceived of from the very beginning.
It’s not as often in the sprinkling of seeds, but in the waiting for those seeds to break out of their casings, expand down into the soil, and break up out of the earth that we often let fear and anxiety about the future of our crops set in, though we have no control over some aspects of their growth.
The fertilizer of formation in its many varieties is essential but can’t do its job without the blessings of water raining down and sunshine bursting forth. The shower of grace and the rays of love are freely given, but the new plant must be in a position to receive them.
The bugs and insects of sin and temptation must be kept at bay, so the crops may have a chance to grow and flourish. Pruning becomes necessary at a certain stage when the crops are strong enough in some areas, though they are beginning to wither in others. The pruning shears clip close to the stem, cutting off all that will not bear fruit.
Sometimes, even when the crops are healthy, and the yield abundant, problems arise. It could be the harvester’s scant planning or limited thinking that fails to bring forth what could have been a field of plenty. Too few laborers, not enough tools, poor timing...could also diminish the abundance.
I know there have been times in life when I have felt more like one of the women in the famous painting by Jean-Francois Millet called Les Glaneuses (The Gleaners).  I am a peasant scrounging for leftovers in a field once full of golden wheat.
When I am more focused on what I lack inside and out than on God’s abundant blessings, I feel as if I have been sent out into a field once rich in grain that has already been harvested. I come with a downtrodden spirit to glean what I can from what’s been all but picked clean, thinking this is all I am going to receive, what’s leftover from God’s best crops. I feel an even deeper void at the thought of having so little to bring home for my family and friends.
During those times, God is probably up there shaking His head with a warm smile, wondering when I’ll look up at the endless rows of golden wheat all around the extremely small area I’m focusing all my attention on, which has, indeed, been picked clean.
God showers upon us abundant love, grace, mercy, joy, and courage which we are more aware of when we become people of abundant prayer. The Cursillo Women’s Weekend that took place October 2008 was indeed chock full of a multitude of blessings. Our little red wagons and sturdy green wheelbarrows were overflowing with beauty, countless graces, a symphony of prayers, and the love and compassion of a God whose heart dances at the mere thought of us.
With a fullness in our hearts, we have gone back out into the world to continue Harvesting God’s Abundance in our families, with our friends, at church, at work, and all the places in between confident that we will be led by the Lord of the Dance to rejoice and be glad.
How is God calling you to harvest His abundance in your own life?  Do you take time to thank Him for the many blessings He's bestowed upon you today and throughout your life?
Lord, thank You for increasing our awareness of Your blessings in our lives so that we might spend more time praising You for Your love and kindness.  Amen.
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