Over the past several months, we in the Wisconsin Conference have been immersing ourselves in the concept of “Sowing the Seeds” as part of our greater theme of “Living the Fruit of the Spirit.” Summer is growing season in Wisconsin; and those who are gardeners or visit farmers markets know that many fruits and vegetables are at their prime level of production in late July through August.
Some churches that I have visited in Wisconsin have community gardens where members of the congregations and others from the area grow fruit, flowers, and vegetables to share with others. Some congregations provide a place for surplus produce to be shared by those whose gardens or farms have produced in abundance. The concept and practice of sharing from our abundance is rooted in our theological story.
From the sacred texts of the Bible, we are reminded that those who are committed to a life of faith show their attunement to God’s guidance by how they share. From the Torah, “When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat your olive tree, you shall not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow. When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not go over it again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow.” (Deuteronomy 24:19-21)
I pray that all of us in Wisconsin will experience a “bumper crop” this summer that leads to the great joy of sharing…whether it be raspberries or radishes, green beans or zucchini, spinach or cabbage…money or time, skill or energy, or any and all gifts the come from God’s abundance! Remember with me that with great abundance comes the expectation and joy of sharing with others.
We Wisconsin United Methodists have a reputation for generosity. Food pantries, mission support, Imagine No Malaria…the list goes on and on. Great abundance, great need for help, great generosity in sharing…a true “bumper crop!
Remember the words of Galatians 6:9, “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.”
Grace and Peace,
Hee-Soo Jung, PhD
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung has served as resident bishop of the Wisconsin Annual Conference since September of 2012. Prior to leading the Wisconsin Conference UMC, Bishop Jung served eight years as bishop of the Northern Illinois Conference (Chicago area).