Wisdom and Faith at Jacksonville Presbyterian ChurchThe Talmud tells a story about a traveler who came across an old man planting a carob tree. The traveler asked him when he thought the tree would bear fruit. “After seventy years,” was the reply.

“Do you expect to live seventy years and eat the fruit of your labor?”

“I did not find the world desolate when I entered it,” answered the old man, “and as my fathers planted for me before I was born, so do I plant for those who will come after me.”

That is a beautiful story. I imagine the old man to not only have wisdom, but also great meaning and joy in his life.

The truth is we too have been entrusted with much: the health of our faith communities, the beauty of the earth we live on, the freedom of this country we live in, care of our communities. Many people worked hard to preserve, to improve upon, and hand these down to us. We too have a role to play in the stewardship of these gifts even as we pass them down to the next generation.

In this year to come, may you consider again your part in this great act. And as you live into it, may you discover new meaning and joy in life.

Let us pray: God of the present moment, God of ages past, God of the year to come, we rejoice in this day and indeed in the gift of life itself. We thank you for those who have gone before us who sacrificed to make this world a better place for us. Give us the courage and grace we need to sacrifice for those who will come after us. In this new year, show us concretely how we can make a difference. Meet us today at our deepest point of need. Work your healing into our lives – even as we work to serve you. Amen.

Please feel free to share this message with friends and family!