Offerings by the Little to the Great (A Harvest Sermon for Children)
Genesis 43:1-14
And the famine was sore in the land.…

An old man is sending off a company of his sons; they are going to visit a very great man, who is the governor of a great country. They have a proper awe of this man, because he is so great, but he has been very good to them, and their need compels them to go. So their father sends them off, and bids them by no means go empty-handed, but take with them a present for the man. Now your parents have sent you or brought you to church to-day to our Harvest Festival, not to visit some great earthly governor, but to God's House, to meet God, and to Present your prayers through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, of whom in His human life Joseph was in many ways a type; and I feel sure that your parents will have said to you, as Jacob said to his sons, "Take a present," "a little of the best fruits of the land," or their value in money. For even if it should be very little indeed that you can bring, I am sure they will have told you that that certainly should not be forgotten. Joseph in Egypt was a picture in some small degree of our Lord, who is Governor of all the earth, who says by the mouth of David, "the whole world is Mine, and all that is therein" (Psalm 50:12). He has no need of our corn, or of our fruits, or of our money: and yet He has commanded us to offer to Him. There follow close after, in this same Psalm, the words, "Offer unto God thanksgiving, and pay thy vows unto the Most Highest." God ordered His people (Deuteronomy 26.) when they came into the land of Canaan to take at harvest-time a basket of the first-fruits, and give it into the hands of the priest before God's altar, and say, "A Syrian ready to perish, was my father, and he went down into Egypt with a few — and became great and mighty." So the people of Israel were to be reminded of this visit to Egypt and its consequences, for by "the Syrian, my father," is meant Jacob. Let us look again at our picture, and see what it will teach us. Joseph, we may be quite sure, was pleased with the present, not for its value in itself, but because it showed that those who brought it wished well. But what pleased him most was the coming of his brethren themselves. He wanted them very much, especially the little one. And there was great joy when he had them all together, and made himself known and embraced them. Joseph is here again a type of our Blessed Lord. That which, above all, He desires, over and above the gifts which He welcomes, is the heart of the giver. St. Paul tells us exactly what it is He seeks — "not yours, but you" (2 Corinthians 12:14). "He is not ashamed to call us brethren" (Hebrews 2:11), though we have treated Him worse than Joseph's brethren treated him; and though we may be us shabby and poor as probably Joseph's brethren looked in his royal palace in Egypt, our Lord Jesus Christ will be ready with His kiss and embrace for us. And when I tell you that He seeks "not yours, but you," I do not mean that He does not want your little offerings; He does for your sakes. What you can give, of course, is nothing to Him: but do not allow yourself to be tempted into saying, as grown-up people sometimes say when the harvest is not so plentiful, and they are poor, and "the times are hard," that we must leave giving to those who are well off. Jacob and his sons were poor enough — there was a famine in the land — and yet they sent the rich governor of Egypt a present, and see what a blessing came out of it. I find, as I read my Bible, that it is "the poor of this world, rich in faith," who become "heirs of the kingdom" (James 2:5), through their faith and liberality. And our Lord has told us why it is He likes us to offer to Him of our little: He says, "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matthew 6:21). He wants our hearts, and therefore He asks for our treasures. Let me give you an example. Only a few weeks ago I read a sad story in a newspaper. There were several young men, brothers, who went, I think, to Canada, and there worked very hard upon a farm out in the wilds, and earned a good deal of money. A man came to visit them, and persuaded them to trust him with their savings, saying that he would use it in the working of a mine which would yield them double their money in a short time. But one day they found out that this man was a rogue, and that he had spent all their money for nothing, and the news was so terrible a shock to them that they all went out of their minds. Their minds were all upon their money, and when that was lost they were lost. Learn, thin, as soon as you may, to lay up your treasure in heaven. Bring your little offerings to Jesus Christ,

"And what He most desireth,

Your humble, thankful hearts."

(Archibald Day, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And the famine was sore in the land.

WEB: The famine was severe in the land.

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