Several of you have been gracious enough to accept our invitation to come to our home for some important ‘futuring’ conversations. Sue and I have been blessed to host you and to hear your vision for the mission and ministry of our congregation. God has provides some really good days with even more grace available as we step into the future together.
We are looking forward to more groups and many more conversations. But what we really want to do is to invite you into our home and then show you our garden! It is small, not very professional, and (I promise) will not put any real farmers to shame. It does have just enough ingredients for one really great pot of soup along with some homemade hot salsa by the end of the summer.
We have potatoes, onions, carrots, five kinds of peppers, three kinds of tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, along with a batch of herbs to flavor the pot and even a potential watermelon for dessert! All that for less than $17,000!
As I tended the potatoes this morning, I was captured by the desire to dig in and see if anything is really growing under there! The plants look strong and healthy but (like carrots and onions) it is only the gift below the surface that really counts. I resisted the compulsion to take a peek under the potato leaves but it was very tempting.
My tomatoes are a different matter! I can watch them bloom, observe as they put on fruit, measure the number and size of the crop, and gaze at them as they shift from green to bright red. Even a non-farmer like me will know when they are ripe and ready to slice. Just a little salt and my taste buds will take me back to my grandmother’s garden!
It dawned on me that the church is a lot like my garden. There are times when we can see the growth and know when the time is ripe. We can watch people grow in their faith and experience the shift from student to servant leader. We can count people who commit to a discipleship journey and know where to add blessing so the crop matures appropriately. Some folks and many groups are much more like tomatoes than potatoes. It is easy to see the movement toward faith and to taste and see that the Lord is good!
Other folks require a bit more time and a little more digging to discover the depth and richness of a life that is maturing below the surface so it can provide nourishment in the world. Like my potato crop, they may be quietly taking it all in, growing beneath the surface, and waiting until the time is just right. The process of maturity is different for us all but the end result is the same…our lives are being built so we can nourish others.
While I think about combining all my ingredients to develop a really expensive (and very small!) pot of soup…Jesus was teaching about the abundance that is available at the glorious banquet table of God. It is a table that is overflowing with abundance. There is plenty for everyone and it is free for all who are hungry. I don’t know about you, but I am hungry for the beautiful banquet that God provides every day.
I hope you will join me at the table so we can all eat our fill. But the next step is really the critical issue. If we just push back from the table and wait for the next meal, we may be missing the boat. The real goal is to eat our fill so we will be ready to feed all the rest. I am looking forward to the banquet and the beautiful bouquet of unique servants who will flow from the table of grace known as the Parker United Methodist Church.
The Lord’s blessing to you all!