Last weekend my wife and I picked the last of the apples from the trees in our garden. It has been a good year for fruit. We have enjoyed cherries, plums, pears and apples in abundance. It reminded us of the fruitfulness of planet earth. Our little planet is unique. It is green and well watered and has a staggering abundance of life; animals, birds, fish, plants and trees abound. Despite the best efforts of space exploration very little signs of life have been found anywhere else.
We were conscious, too, that not everyone on earth enjoys the same abundance we do. In some places there have been droughts and the harvest has been poor. In other places, like Pakistan, the floods have destroyed the fields and the crops. The people have not only lost their homes but also the food to supply their needs for the coming year. They need help from those of us who have so much.
In our country we are used to shopping in supermarkets which offer fine products from all over the world. The choice is sometimes bewildering as we struggle to find where the things we want in the endless aisles. A stream of shoppers leaves the supermarket with trolleys overflowing with good things.
Yet, sometimes, we can be very ungrateful. We take for granted what we have and assume it is our right. We lose sight of the great privilege we have in a world where most people struggle to survive. We continue to accumulate possessions and our desires may have no limit.
When Moses was preparing the Israelites to enter Canaan, after wandering for 40 years in the desert, he gave them a warning. “When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.”
These words speak to us today. Some people proudly profess their atheism but many more live as if there is no God. As we enjoy the many good things God has blessed us with it is so important to remember him and to say “Thank you!”