We Plough The Fields And Scatter

We plough the fields, and scatter the good seed on the land;

But it is fed and watered by God’s almighty hand:

He sends the snow in winter, the warmth to swell the grain,

The breezes and the sunshine, and soft refreshing rain.

 

All good gifts around us?

Are sent from heaven above,?

Then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord?

For all His love.

 

He only is the maker of all things near and far;

He paints the wayside flower, He lights the evening star;

The winds and waves obey Him, by Him the birds are fed;

Much more to us, His children, He gives our daily bread.

 

All good gifts around us?

Are sent from heaven above,?

Then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord?

For all His love.

 

We thank Thee, then, O Father, for all things bright and good,

The seed time and the harvest, our life, our health, and food;

No gifts have we to offer, for all Thy love imparts,

But that which Thou desirest, our humble, thankful hearts.

____________

I don’t know whether it was the sight of leaves turning golden, the pheasants dashing into hedgerows, or the sight of a long line of children walking to church today, which made me think of this familiar hymn. The children clutched tins of baked beans and baskets of leafy apples as they marched into the chapel for harvest festival, doubtless having practiced this well known song many times in school assemblies.

This deceptively simple harvest hymn (first published in 1861) makes the point that those who garden and farm are working in cooperation with the Lord, and are dependent on his part in the process. In the beginning, “The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden” (Gen. 2:8), and surely it must have been the most beautiful garden ever seen on earth. But he did it without man’s help, and before Adam had ever seen the garden.  However, in his sovereign grace, God actually wanted us to partner with him.  He “took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it (vs. 15).

In all our life’s service (no secular or sacred divide), in all we do, we depend on the wisdom and help of Almighty God: “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).  Without the ‘breezes and the sunshine’, without God’s grace and mercy, we cannot survive.  There is no such thing as a self-made man or woman.

Those of us who are part of Latimer Minster on Stampwell Farm have the great privilege of engaging in the rural countryside, most of us without the stress and pressure of being real farmers. It is a luxury to be surrounded by apple trees, fields and wildlife, with constant reminders of how the Lord sends the ‘seed time and the harvest’.  We just get to enjoy the beauty of the seasons and draw parallels to our spiritual lives.

And what can we give back to the Lord for His abundant mercies? Merely our thanks, and the humble submission of our thankful hearts, set on obedience to him. Our gratitude is a kind of fruit as well, as it springs up from within us. “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name” (Heb. 13:15)

“So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.” – James 1:17 (The Message)

Spend some time giving thanks today.

 

Categories: Psalms, Hymn of the Week

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