Last year in the spring, I informed my wife of my intention to grow a big garden. However, my “big” garden is only about 40 feet by 20 feet. To increase my productive space, I purchased heavy-gauge cattle-fencing panels, which would help the plants grow up vertically. “I don’t see why you need all those cattle panels, but it’s your garden,” my wife said.
I don’t know why I chose to grow a big garden. Perhaps it was my way of trying to reclaim some normalcy in the chaos of COVID-19 lockdown. It would be my little oasis of God’s bountiful blessings in my own back yard.
To ensure a great harvest, I planted seeds, greenhouse plants, onion sets and seed potatoes. I gave them a weekly feeding of special fertilizer and kept the weeds at bay with daily hoeing. As spring moved into summer, my garden was full of blossoming plants with fruits and vegetables ripening every day. I could see that God’s harvest blessing was going to be larger than any I had enjoyed before. Tomatoes, summer squash, zucchini, acorn squash, butternut squash, pickling cucumbers, green beans, cabbage, hot peppers, bell peppers, red onions, yellow onions, potatoes, raspberries, cantaloupe and water melon were all coming along nicely. When my wife saw the bounty, she said, “I’m sorry for complaining about the panels. I just couldn’t see your vision.”
In many ways, planned giving is similar to gardening. It starts with a vision of what could be. In my garden I sowed bountifully, following 2 Corinthians 9:6: “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”
In verses 7 through 11, God calls on us to be cheerful givers. “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: ‘They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.’ Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
Contact me at 269-929-7840 or jpetty@AFMonline.org to learn about ways you can sow bountifully with planned giving.