I, like many of you, have investments, IRA accounts, and retirement instruments. Even the Pension Fund of the Christian Church, on which I rely for a healthy retirement, is connected to the financial markets. I did muster up the courage to take a peek early this morning at CNN to find the market in an early, positive jump.
But I don’t intend to take this space to dole out financial advice. I’m not qualified and I don’t have much history in this area. I’m the son of a sharecropper. Don’t get me wrong, we weren’t Grapes of Wrath poor, but we did have to manage our lives around harvest and successful farming. Nothing was guaranteed. I’ve known more than one crop failure.
I remember one particular August. Our cotton fields were ahead of schedule. A soaking rain set the timetable for the rest of the fall. All signs pointed to the potential of a bumper crop.
But the soaking rain turned into a driving hail storm. Less than 30 minutes after celebrating the generous rain, everything was destroyed. There would be no cotton income that season. Thankfully, we had a few cows and some of the grain crop was not totally destroyed, but I watched my father’s year-long hard work reduced to rubble. No insurance to cover it. Nothing.
That August day, I promised myself I would never be a farmer. But what followed after that August day taught me how to be a good steward. We saved a lot. We did without some things. We patched old equipment instead of replacing. We made plans to diversify our crops more. And we moved on. There would be other, better years to follow, but there would also be years of drought and lean. Being a good steward got us through.
Jesus spoke of stewardship, money and financial priorities as spiritual matters. Our church has a long history of being exemplary stewards. And even in this time of economic adversity, we are called to be people of faith and continue being good stewards.
In spiritual matters, waiting for a better day is seldom a smart strategy. The church should continue to move forward. That’s what a good steward does.
So give prayerfully in response to God’s blessings in your life and commitment your talents to involvement in this great church.
Thanks, Dad, for that important lesson. Thanks God, for that important lesson.