The month of November reminds me of my first paper round which began in the pale mist of a dull November morning. At first the village lay sleeping in the hazy morning light but soon I sensed a stirring behind closed doors. The smell of wood smoke hung in the air as the morning fires were lit and by the time I had finished my round the grass was wet and dew drops hung glistening in the pale light.
My paper round was not arduous but I hated having to wake each morning at six. By nature I was a night owl and not an early morning lark. In contrast my grandfather was most definitely a lark who delighted in the beauty of God’s creation from the rising to the setting of the sun. He worked as the head gardener on a large estate and tended a Victorian walled garden where he grew fruit and vegetables in their season. By November he ensured that all the garden produce was stored correctly. I remember helping him clean and check the carrots for weevil holes before placing them in layers of dry sand. Garden produce was used to sustain both family and workers on the estate during the winter months.
Jesus told the parable of the ‘rich fool’ who, instead of sharing the harvest with his workers, built great storehouses for himself (Luke 12 v 13-21). Jesus reminded his listeners that our lives should not be about accumulating wealth and possessions for, like the rich fool, we may die at any time. Rather we should be thanking God for all his blessings. Paul reminds us that ‘God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.’ (2 Corinthians 9 v 8).
The memory of Grandad encouraging me to appreciate the important things in life and to count my blessings has remained with me. He often sang a hymn when working in the garden and a favourite was ‘Count your blessings.’
‘Count your blessings,
Name them one by one.
Count your blessings
See what God has done.
Count your blessings
Name them one by one
And it will surprise you
What the Lord has done.’