In the gospel lesson for this week, Jesus tells his disciples (and so us), “You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.” (John 15:16-17)
As I thought about bearing fruit, “fruit that will last,” I thought of the many ways in which our congregation does things that have lasting impact. We teach the faith to our children, and they grow up to do the same. We address hunger not just in sharing food, but in working to alleviate the problems that cause hunger. I also thought about a milestone we recently marked that is all about bearing fruit that lasts.
Years ago, Holy Trinity established a Mission Trust Endowment Fund. The purpose was to receive gifts to build the fund to a point where we could disburse an amount every year that was guided by the investment income. The threshold we set was to wait until we had $100,000 in the fund. This year, for the first time since its inception, we passed that threshold. This year, for the first time, we were able to give grants to advance our mission of Sharing God’s Love. This year the gifts given in the name of loved ones and designated for this purpose bore fruit. And now, it is poised to do so into the future.
Guided by the governing documents of the congregation and with the work of the Mission Trust Memorial Committee, the Council approved a resolution to withdraw 5% ($6,471) of the available funds to award grants. Our governing documents call for us to offer a tithe of what we withdraw to the synod’s endowment fund. Then they give guidance on granting money for mission programs of the ELCA, mission programs in the community, and scholarships for seminarians. Here is the fruit of our efforts for this year:
This is fruit that will last. Each year, we will be able to reach out in ways we never could because of the foresight and faith of those who have given to the Mission Trust Endowment Fund. The Mission Trust Endowment Fund can be a way of leaving memorial gifts, a tool for estate planning, something to gift with insurance. The bigger the fund grows, the more fruit it bears. The fund bears fruit that lasts!
Thanks be to God for the generosity of those who have given to this fund so far. Thanks be to God for those who will. Thanks be to God for fruit that lasts!
Tim Olson – Lead Pastor.