September 29, 2017
When the Lord your God has brought you into the land that he swore to your ancestors…and you drink from wells you did not dig…take care that you do not forget the Lord… (Deuteronomy 6:10-12)
Frank was a farmer.
Cotton was his crop. In the fall he would always tell me to pray for no rain. Rain and cotton don’t make for a good harvest. Some years Frank had success, other years he had to stretch to make things work. The farm had been in his family for three generations. In spite of the advice he’d heard to get out of the business, farming cotton was what Frank did. So he kept at it.
Frank was generous with the church. He was one of the first people to get his pledge in during stewardship season. The amount of his pledge ebbed and flowed—which is what a tithe does when it is tied to the fluctuating annual income of a cotton farmer.
And then one year, they found natural gas under Frank’s farm. There’s more money in gas than there is in cotton. The gas company asked for permission to drill a gas well on Frank’s land. They paid him handsomely for the right to do, and promised more money for the gas that would come out of the ground.
All of a sudden Frank didn’t have to stretch to make ends meet anymore. When the lawyers and the accountants had squared away all the details, Frank was in my office with a check for his pledge and for a gift to the building campaign.
Frank knew that it wasn’t his well.
He had a lifetime of spiritual discipline around how to approach the gifts that God put in his hands that sprung from the ground.
October 8 is Commitment Sunday at First Presbyterian. Within our congregation, some have developed the spiritual practice that I saw evidenced in Frank. Others are just starting on the road. I hope you will participate—whatever your stage in the journey—by making your financial commitment to the church and its mission your first priority.
– The Reverend Pen Peery
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