Over the past few summers I have tried my best to become a better gardener. I feel drawn to this pastime because my Grandfather was a wonderful gardener well into his 80’s. I remember as a child looking through his seed catalog, the one with the funny name “Burpee”. It would arrive late in the winter and rest beside his easy chair, along with notes and garden drawings as he sketched plans for the summer to come.
Each spring he would excitedly sow some special seeds with his just his grandchildren in mind, and in the fall we would be treated to an amazing harvest of some wonderful surprises. I remember over the years we had pumpkins, peanuts, popcorn, and a variety of vegetables in strange colors. How special we all felt because he grew them just for us!
Not every summer of his long life was good for growing, and the harvest was not always as planned. For my Pop-Pop it was about the joy he felt as we shared in his harvest and we expressed our thanks with hugs and love. I thank God for those happy memories and the opportunity to share them with you today.
Planting the seeds of stewardship in our Church brings many of the same challenges as gardening. If you have a bad environment to grow stewardship, face an economic drought, or don’t have committed gardeners to tend the process you may not get the harvest that you anticipate when you first plant the seed. Does this mean we should never plant the seeds? Should we give up the garden because we can’t always be successful? To do so would miss the generational joy of sharing our Church with others.
Anyone who has served on a stewardship committee or heard a sermon on stewardship understands why it is necessary for the Church to have financial security. There is a great need to endow the future. It’s like canning vegetables; you do it for when a fresh crop is not available.
Stewardship is part of the Church’s generational life, planting some financial seeds today for growing into the future. The church family that came before us planned; endowed, and financially secured the church for us today. They made certain some seed was stored and planted for the future. Now we are responsible for adding to it and passing this lesson on to others. It is our turn to feel the joy of sharing our abundance for the financial security of the future.
This year as we sit down to our Thanksgiving dinner, we should remember to give thanks for those who cared enough to plant the seed of stewardship in our Church. Give thanks for the many generations before us that have gifted to endowments for the transformation of our church. They planted seeds never knowing how the crops would come in. I am certain there were times that it was economically difficult. But they planted because if they didn’t, failure was a certainty.
May you be blessed with a harvest of abundance and joy that you will forever share with others.
Jack Brooks, Executive Director
Mid-Atlantic United Methodist Foundation
Tel: 800-828-9093 Ext: 1008 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org