by Jim Wehner, President of FCS
Welcome to 2016! I am so encouraged by the start of a new year. A clean slate to fill and new goals to pursue. As I think and pray into this coming year, I find my heart encouraged by the words of King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 11:1-6:
“Ship your grain across the sea; after many days you may receive a return. Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.” Another translation says, “If clouds are full of water, they pour rain on the earth. Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where it falls, there it will lie. Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap. As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that,or whether both will do equally well.”
Several nuggets of encouragement and truth resonate with me as I read this passage.
- Sow generously. Spread your resources with wisdom. Don’t hold back. Don’t focus solely upon the place that gives you the biggest return. You do not know what the year ahead holds for your investments. So, invest with Kingdom-oriented generosity in mind. And enjoy doing it! Trust that God, who calls you to be faithful toward others, will be faithful to you as well.
Sow faithfully. Planting is hard work. But don’t hold back and don’t stop! If you fail to plant, there will be no harvest at the end of the season. It is tempting to focus on the harvest - the end that want to see and experience. But I am reminded of how many times the end has been a let down because I did not remain faithful in the planting phase.
Maintain your focus. Spend less time focusing on obstacles that you cannot change. The tree fell where it fell, move on. The clouds will drop some rain, keep working. Friction is the source of traction, embrace the resistance. Setbacks are part of the process, but you live in light of a God that provides faithfully. Tomorrow holds great promise because of Him.
Trust God! Do not let the worries and cares of the day stop you from doing what is best and needed. Don’t let fear and worry rule your actions.
What does it look like for FCS to sow generously and faithfully, focus, and trust God in 2016? For starters, it means we will complete twelve houses this year. That means twelve families moving into formerly vacant places, being neighbors in our community and making a difference on their block! If you are a Real Estate professional, you know first hand the mountains we are moving to provide wholesome and viable housing in this neighborhood. We need courageous investors to join with us on this work!
We will continue working hard to bring vitality to the neighborhood by providing affordable and healthy foods at Carver Market, a friendly and light-filled meeting space at Community Grounds Cafe, and a training space to our neighborhood youth at our bike shop. We have hopes of adding a restaurant to the neighborhood. We’re dreaming of a pizza joint where neighbors can grab a slice or families can take home a whole pie. If that vision excites you, we should talk!
We will continue to support neighborhood leaders serving in the South Atlanta Civic League, our neighborhood food co-op, and after school partnership serving local children. Next December, we look forward to another joyful Pride for Parents Christmas store.
None of this work is flashy. Just consistent (and hard!) work in a positive direction, producing spectacular results in our community. And we are excited to the core when lives and neighbors are impacted in positive, life-giving, and Jesus-glorifying ways.
I was talking with a good friend and fellow non-profit leader this week. We are both in vision-casting mode for the coming year. We were discussing what a daunting task it can be to think about the transformations we are working towards in our focus communities. I imagine you can relate as you think about your dreams and making ends meet this year.
As I read this passage in Ecclesiastes, I am reminded and encouraged that the little things we do along the way are powerful. Small, consistent (even persistent) tasks lay the groundwork for big God-inspired returns. I hope you find encouragement in your work this year, and we invite you to be a part of the ongoing work of FCS in 2016.