‘Celebrate the Festival of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field... appear before the Sovereign Lord and bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God.' (Exodus 23, NIV)
Since the time of hunters and gatherers people of faith and deep spirituality have used the end of the year harvest season as a time to reflect on God and honor him with what was produced. Our early ancestors understood something that is quite often lost to us modern capitalists. We gain meaning and life from the things we sacrifice to. When we sacrifice for our children we are searching for meaning in them, and when we sacrifice for our career we are looking value in our work. Scriptures teach that If we sacrifice to God we find our meaning and life in him.
Stopping once a year and assessing your annual individual productivity, income, and inventory as a means of worship is the earliest form of spirituality we have in Scripture (Genesis 4). Trace your finger through the Ancient Writings and you will notice in every generation the faithful involve themselves in this spiritual activity--Enoch, Noah, Abraham and the Patriarchs, Moses and the Generals, David and the Kings, Samuel and the Prophets, Jesus and the Disciples.
This spiritual practice was codified in the Torah in Exodus 23. We are told the people of God would gather together in the autumn of every year to celebrate the Festival of Ingathering. And when they came together they would bring the best of the harvest with them to worship and offer it to God. It was through this annual reflection and offering that their thankfulness became more-than-words and that they entered into the rhythms of grace and shalom and blessings.
1. This year make time to assess 2015's blessings:
- How much did you take in this year?
- What gifts did you receive this year?
- How has God blessed your life this year?
- What offering would be commensurate with God's blessing?
2. Bring a Gift to the annual Giving Thanks Offering Sunday November 29:
*If you are out of the City the weekend after Thanksgiving please consider sending in your Giving Thanks offering or bring it the following week.