Seed for the CityOctober 2010
by Howard Freeman
You may not realize that Central Park is teeming with ‘biological seed dispersal agents,’ as Wikipedia refers to squirrels. When a squirrel takes an acorn and buries it away from the tree for future use, the acorn effectively ‘dies.’ If the squirrel doesn’t remember to come back and eat the acorn, it will germinate and become an oak tree in time. After twenty years, the tree will be mature enough to produce acorns of its own, although oaks must sometimes be 40-50 years old before producing a successful seed crop.
A gift is like a seed.
We give these gifts, like acorns, and we die to their alternate use. A gift of money—by way of its transformative death, a metamorphosis—is converted from a pecuniary value to an economic one. Our ongoing gifts to the RENEW Campaign have produced fruit even during the nine months since we’ve pledged them. We’ve conducted Gospel in Life courses, named our four Lead Pastors, made significant headway on the West 83rd Street Worship & Community Center, and this fall will launch four mid-sized neighborhood communities. These are the trunk, branches and leaves of a new oak tree in New York.
Just prior to the RENEW Campaign’s beginning, in September 2009, we heard about David going before his people to ask them to give gifts to build the temple. He said in 1 Chronicles 28, ‘I had it in my heart to build a house as a place of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD…and I made plans to build it. But God said to me, “You are not to build a house for my Name…Solomon your son is the one who will build my house…”’ Here was David, a ‘man after God’s own heart,’ not able to realize the plan of his heart for the Lord. Yet the people gave ‘freely and wholeheartedly to the LORD’ (29:9) and all, including David, rejoiced. David died a death to his plan and all the people gave gifts, but it wasn’t until Solomon was king that the temple was built.
We who are giving to RENEW may not be in New York before the full impact on the city of our gifts are grown to maturity. Yet Tim and co-chairman Dan Kramer have reminded us that we are giving for future generations. We ‘die’ to the alternate use of our gifts and even ourselves so that future lives might be changed.
Jesus said shortly before his death, ‘I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.’ (John 12:24) Jesus was the ultimate ‘seed capital’ in the hands of the Father, producing many seeds in the form of sons and daughters, heirs to the king.
In this economic time, and when we think about year-end gifts to charities and to loved ones for Christmas, let us remember the Seed that gave us life through his death, and let us provide seed for our city.
To make a gift: https://giving.redeemer.com/giving
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