I grew some nice carrots this past summer, and before the ground froze, I went out and dug as many as I could store in the house, then covered the rest with straw to see if they might keep until spring. I put the carrot harvest in the basement. But it wasn’t cool enough down there, and when I went down to get them a few weeks later, they were shrivilling up. The small ones had already been lost; the larger ones were still edible, but they were drying out and losing their flavor.
As I looked closer, I noticed the shrivelling carrots were sprouting new leaves. Down in the dark of the basement, with no soil or hope of sunlight, and no way to preserve themselves, they had stubbornly insisted on putting out new leaves. For those carrots, there was always another harvest to lean toward.
Most of us, when we think about the future, think only as far as the end of our own lives. A few of us, like my carrots, invest our energy until our last days in the great harvest that will occur after we are gone.
As you consider your church’s future, do you ever wonder who will come to gather in a harvest where you are putting out shoots? Even if you never see them bear fruit, isn’t it great to think that you started something that others will benefit from?
Or have you stopped putting out new shoots?