Stewardship That Makes a Difference!
I had always thought Johnny Appleseed was a myth; just one of those “tall tales”
we learned in elementary school—you know, like Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill, and the like. But then,
a few years ago, I discovered Johnny wasn’t a myth at all. He was a real person who actually traveled this young country planting apple trees. Why? He did it for those who would come after him. He wanted them to have fruit to enjoy.
There is a lesson here about faith. You see, in a sense, as members of this “Body of Christ” in Brevard, we all are like little “Johnny Appleseeds.” We may not be sowing apple seeds, but we are sowing seeds of some kind or another. These can be seeds of love and kindness, as the old song says, or the seeds of faith and generosity.
Speaking of the latter, our church has been exceptionally generous in recent years by living a stewardship that truly is making a difference in our community. Maybe you remember the chart we had in the Welcome Center, back in the spring, that showed our church giving over $142,000 to missions in 2015! And that was just in direct-giving to missional causes; it didn’t account for all the volunteer hours given by members work- ing on the “front lines.” Considering that a standard formula used by charities puts the value of volunteering at $17 per hour, I would suggest that our church’s giving to missions actually exceeded $200,000 in total value! That’s a lot of seeds, don’t you think? And, I would add, we are well on our way to equaling if not topping that total for this year.
Brothers and sisters, all of this is in addition to providing for the ministries, programs, worship, facilities, staffing, and “Generation to Generation” interest payments that make up our general budget for a growing church. Again, all of this is made possible by you and your generosity, and it shows us what can happen when we all can put our hearts and gifts together in our love for Jesus Christ and for our church.
It also proves what Paul said in his Letter to the Corinthians. He urged them to look at the blessings they had, which were quite abundant for many of them, and then to have faith that God will always meet their needs and more. He even told them they will have “more than enough” for doing good for others. Or, in other words, he was teaching about the kind of stewardship that always makes a difference, both for those in the community but also for those who were giving.
We will always have all that we need from God to meet our own needs—we call these blessings! And we will always have “more than enough” in our blessings to be shared with others, especially through our gra- cious giving. In that, then we really are like Johnny Appleseed, sowing here and there the seeds of good- ness and love.
We usually think of October as harvest time. So, what better time for people of faith to celebrate our stew- ardship? In our prayers, our presence in worship, our gifts, and our service, may we give thanks for all that God has planted in our hearts, and, in turn, sow those seeds of blessing for others.
In the love of Christ,