Date trees can take a decade to bear fruit and 100 years to reach their full height. The hands that plant such a tree may do so knowing they may never rest in that tree’s shade. Moved by love, they invest in that unseen future. Brazilian theologian Ruben Alves wrote, “Let us plant dates even though those who plant them will never eat them.”
We are all co-workers together in God’s service,” writes Paul in I Corinthians 3. Some of us plant. Some of us water. But God gives the growth. Through One Great Hour of Sharing, we become like date tree planters: serving the fruitful future for which God years. Who knows what growth God may bring when we join hands together across distance, across traditions, and across time for the love of what we may never see?
As an example, young women arriving at the New Life Center in Thailand have escaped difficult pasts, and often face uncertain futures. Whether they’re survivors of abuse, trafficking, or just a lack of access to education, they may find it hard to envision a life beyond their present situation. But at New Life Center, they are met with kindness and compassion. They encounter people willing to invest the time and resources to help them imagine abundant futures full of opportunities for education, friendship, and healing.
Hands that once shuck with fear now move swiftly across a keyboard, operate a sewing machine, or warmly clasp the hands of a friend. The support they receive at the New Life Center empowers these young women to share their own gifts for the future thriving of the world.
When we give to One Great Hour of Sharing, we help make all of this new life and growth possible. Through our sharing, we are connected as co-workers,. Our combined gifts empower young girls through education, help women learn trades; rebuild communities after disaster, and support communities through agriculture as they learn to sustain themselves. In these and so many other ways, we release the waters of God’s growth when we invest in the lives of others.
The official Sunday to receive the OGHS offering is March 22nd but you can donate any time using the envelopes in the pews or online at https://www.ucc.org/tags/one_great_hour_of_sharing_1