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Viewpoint from Lieutenant Ben Selfe 25/10/2013

BEN SELFELieutenant Ben Selfe
Leader, Great Yarmouth Salvation Army

Spam, spam, spam, sausage and spam. Spam, spam, spam, spam, baked beans, spam, and spam. No I'm not re-mastering an old Monty Python classic; I'm just finishing an inventory of the Harvest donations received by The Salvation Army this year. As I survey our cupboards I’m overwhelmed by two distinct feelings. The first is a sharp stabbing pain in my back from loading food in and out of my car. The second is an immense feeling of gratitude. I am humbled by the generosity people show in support of their neighbours in need through our work
dove left 
Harvest is a time of thanksgiving, and I think the word 'thanksgiving' can be read two different ways: First, thanksgiving describes a moment of giving thanks, and we do this all the time. We write thank you cards for birthday presents and we wave thank you to the driver who lets us pull out. Second, a 'thanks-giving' could be seen as the giving of a gift to mark our gratitude; a 'thanks-offering'. For example giving a reward to the hero who found our lost cat or giving our favourite teacher some Ferrero Rocher at the end of term. And I believe harvest is a time for both
We give thanks to God for the things we have, and our gratitude compels us to share them with others. This has been the basic premise of harvest celebrations for millennia. Leviticus 23:22 says 'when you reap the harvest of the land, do not reap to the very edges of your crop field, but leave a little for the poor and homeless'
 Dove right
Not many of us toil the land in the same way now, but we can apply this principle to our own lives. A practical way we can do this is in our modern day crop fields: the supermarket! If you shop in Sainsbury's, you can buy an extra tin of veg (or other non-perishable goods) along with your weekly shop and place it in the Herbie's Shopping Trolley near the entrance.  But aside from this shameless plug, I think we can all be encouraged to apply the two-fold challenge of Harvest to our own lives:
1.   try to think of a gift, talent or skill that you have - and give thanks for it!
2.   try to find a small but significant way you can share this gift with others
Great Yarmouth Foodbank at, operated alongside Gorleston Baptist Church and St Mary Magdalene Church