The other day, I sat and read one of those “history of our church” books that local churches produce to celebrate centenaries and 150th anniversaries. There was a beautiful little story in it. The church were looking to do a bit of building work and began to raise the funds. A large legacy of £58k was donated to the church from a man who had little to do with them. Upon investigation it turned out that he had received a harvest basket of fruit each year. This obviously had a significant impact on him.
On the one hand, it was a beautiful story. On the other hand, it struck me as very sad. This man was obviously open, the fruit had been well received. The legacy suggested that the fruit may not have been that urgent a need but I would not decry the act of generosity. What saddened me was the missed opportunity.
Imagine if the harvest visit had been followed up with some visits. Perhaps an invite to a carol service, drop in to see how he was getting on, a church news letter? What if this had led to the sharing of the Gospel?
The church received fruit from their Harvest Service in the form of a legacy. A greater legacy would have been to see fruit for the great harvest, a sinner saved and brought into God’s Kingdom. My advice to local churches would be, don’t neglect those little signs of kindness, a gift of harvest produce, a hot cross bun at Easter etc but also make sure that you are regularly visiting people not just once or twice a year and don’t miss the Gospel opportunities presented.