By John Sheppard, Senior Advisor Trustee, SWFL Community Foundation
This being the year-end time of giving and receiving, Hannakah and Christmas, Kwanzaa and dozens of other religious holidays, I thought I’d share a few thoughts about sowing, giving and reaping. No matter the holiday that you celebrate, the universal theme remains, “wishing for peace on earth and goodwill for all.” We all hope to reap a good harvest in our lives each day.
Stating this in language we Floridians understand well (especially the summer crop) if we plant “sandspurs now, we’re going to reap a harvest of sandspurs”, but if we continue to sow and plant good seeds, we can reap a current crop of the joy of giving today, and spread our giving crop with others for the future, as our gifts are nicely “re-gifted” to others later after we are gone.
Scripture, both Old and New, is filled with cautions about reaping what we sow. One of the prophets said, “Sow a wind, reap a whirlwind.” Another verse says ,“Whatever a man sows, so shall he reap.”
And yet there are those, even with their best efforts, for many reasons, because of bad times or loved ones lost, rather than being a happy time the holidays bring an even sadder time. On behalf of the foundation in this season of giving, I would especially like to commend and celebrate the many charitable agencies and individuals that focus on our neighbors who “have not” or “have less.” Those who bring moments and times of joy to the less fortunate—followed by what might be a new beginning. May God and life bless each of them in their giving to their loved ones and to those whom don’t even know. We all need to be in many ways “our brother’s keeper.”
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if each of us not lose that wonderful “Spirit of Giving” and sharing what we have that comes with the season? Imagine what could happen if within each of us the spirit of the season might come and carry on through the New Year, and throughout our lives. If we could do that, we will be both living and leaving a wonderful legacy for others.
The Community Foundation’s focus is not only on current needs of people but the long term needs of the community through the benevolence of our donors who have created funds and gifts that continue to give now and in the future. If the foundation can help you in planning your philanthropy now or for your legacy, please give them a call.