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The Harvest Badge

Every night before she goes to bed, our daughter watches 7 minutes of British telly at its best!! (Well, British kid’s telly at its best!!) Hey Duggee* is an animated television series where a dog, Duggee, leads a group of ‘squirrels’-young animals on different adventures to help them explore and learn. It is aimed at preschool children encouraging them in turn to explore and learn new things through adventure. Zoe loves it, Matt and I try and stay awake during it!!

We watched one recently called ‘The Harvest Badge’ and it got me thinking. In the episode the ‘squirrels’ were helping Duggee harvest some vegetables, they enjoyed harvesting and had lots of fun. When they thought they had finished they went to Duggee to tell him. He said ‘Awooof woof woof’ and the screen zooms out to a huge field FULL of vegetables of all kinds, shapes, colours and sizes. One of the squirrels says “There’s more??? How can we collect all that!!!” Duggee runs off to find his tractor and they chug along on the tractor for a while collecting the food and having a lot of fun!!

This made me think of the verse in Matthew 9 where Jesus says “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matt 9:37-38) I was thinking that maybe the squirrels were like the disciples, not really appreciating the size of the harvest, not realising that the crowds Jesus was seeing with compassion were the harvest he spoke of. Jesus said to ask for help from God to complete the harvest. I was thinking the tractor in this analogy could represent the Church. Working together to reap the harvest that is plentiful. Everyone in the tractor working together towards a common goal…as the tractor in the cartoon was gathering the harvest, other animals were looking up and being impressed. That is what the Church should be like…a unified body of believers working towards the same goal of reaching people for God and doing it in such a way that it is attractive and draws others in to see what all the fuss is about.

Sadly in Hey Duggee the tractor breaks down. Sometimes that can happen in real life too! Many churches have become a machine that is no longer fit for purpose. We can often fall into the trap of expecting the same machine to do the work without looking after it, without investing in it, without updating and remodelling it. Don’t hear me wrong…I do not think the Church needs to bend to the whims of today’s society!! I do think that many churches have become rusty, they clank and rattle in all the wrong places. Churches can fall into the trap of no longer being the unified body pulling in the same direction: often the mechanics required to keep the machine running can become more important than the harvest it was supposed to be collecting. In Hey Duggee the squirrels get together with the other animals and come up with new, inventive, fun and effective ways of gathering the harvest whilst Duggee gets more and more frustrated, oily and cross trying to fix the tractor. He is missing out on the harvest because he is focused on the machine. In the end the squirrels have drawn the animals on the fringes of the field, not only into the field but into helping with the harvest. The end result being a harvested field, new ways of working, friendships, joy and food. 

  • How are you helping with the harvest?
  • Is it possible that you have got distracted fixing the machine rather than helping with the harvest?
  • Who could you draw in and get alongside in order to share the Good News?
  • Where is your harvest field? Are you standing at the edge thinking ‘How can we collect all that?’

Inspire would love to help you think about how church can be done differently as we emerge from the pandemic. If you would like prayer or to talk anything through please do get in touch.

BBC, 2014 Hey Duggee

Rachel is Inspire Missioner based in Chesterfield, UK.

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