20 September 2017

“…and finally.”

Pineapples. That’s what she was vexed about.

“I just don’t see why we should have pineapples at the Harvest Thanksgiving. They don’t grow here; we don’t harvest them, so why should they be on the harvest table? They just don’t belong!”

We humans are a strange lot. I mean that in the nicest possible way. We get an idea in our head and if something doesn’t fit in with it, then it can’t be right. The Pharisees were guilty of it. They built up all these extra rules and regulations around God’s laws. They had their own idea of the promised Messiah and what he would and would not do. So fixated on their own ideas were they that when the Messiah did come, the one who came to fulfil the law, they did not recognise God’s most amazing gift, His beloved Son, right in their midst.

If you look around the Christian ‘family’ God has placed you in there are probably one or two ‘pineapples’ there. Or maybe it’s you who feels like you don’t belong. Be encouraged, God measures us by His standard not others. When the prophet Samuel came to Jesse’s family to choose a king for Israel, he looked at the eldest. Eliab looked the part and Samuel was convinced he was looking at the future king, but God had other ideas and He told Samuel, “Look not on his countenance or the height of his stature; because I have refused him; for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” (1Sam 16:7) It was David, the ‘pineapple’, the least expected, a boy even his own father forgot about whom God had chosen; and suddenly, this nobody became somebody because he was a man after God’s own heart. Let’s not be guilty of the sin of David’s father. God sees what really matters and He knows best.

The same is true sometimes of the circumstances God allows into our lives. They are like the harvest pineapples. They do not fit with what we think God has in His plan; we don’t understand where they’ve come from and why God has allowed them. But God commands us in His Word to “give thanks always for all things.” (Eph 5:20).

I’m reminded of the story of Corrie Ten Boom, who survived imprisonment and terrible hardship at the hands of the Nazi regime. She tells the story of being transferred from a prison, where conditions were almost unbearable, to a new prison only to find her new dormitory was infested with fleas. She opened her Bible at her reading for that day and read to her amazement that she should give thanks for all things. Not understanding the reason why, she bowed her head and thanked God for the fleas. Time would reveal that because of the unauthorised inhabitants of that dormitory the German soldiers did not do their customary inspection. Corrie Ten Boom could share the gospel with her fellow inmates in the middle of a Nazi concentration camp, because of the fleas.

I hope there are pineapples on your harvest table this year and I hope you remember to “give thanks always for all things”…even the pineapples.

Vi Dawson