My spouse, Gabi, and I serve as country coordinators for the ELCA’s Young Adults in Global Mission program in Jerusalem and the West Bank. One volunteer shared this story of a conversation with her Palestinian Lutheran host mother: “On one side of the garden there are small trees…I asked her how long it takes for a little tree to start bearing fruit…I was surprised to hear that it can take 10 to 20 years….she said that their parents had a saying ‘We plant; our children eat.’”
Whether we realize it or not, everything we do is pointed toward the future, despite the knowledge that this future is never guaranteed. This is what faith looks like in ordinary life. We do not know that any of the things we imagine will come to pass, but we place our hope and trust in the possibility that they can.
The future is at the heart of God’s promises. We are freed by the gospel not to worry about the future, but to build and work together with God for the future that will come after us, trusting that as we plant, our children will eat.
This message is excerpted from the Bible study “Holy time” by Meghan Johnston Aelabouni in the November 2020 Gather magazine.
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