In the state of Israel there are two lakes, both of which are fed by the Jordon River. The Sea of Galilee in the north receives water from the headwaters of the Jordon and creates one of the richest, most fertile lands in the middle east. Fishing, agriculture, and economic activity swirl around the living waters of the Sea of Galilee. This lake then flows out to nourish the Jordon valley.
The other lake is called the Dead Sea. It is fed by the Jordon as well, but there is no outflow. It feeds nothing. It keeps all the water that it is given, and because of that fact, nothing grows there. Anything that tries, dies.
We live in a culture and an economic system that measures wealth by what comes in, what comes our way, and what we manage to accumulate. Our culture breeds dissatisfaction. However, life, vitality, and anything worth referencing as a sign of true wealth is measured more by what it creates, what it enables, what it gives.
This month people will gather around tables filled with food and will celebrate the festival of Thanksgiving. At its core it recognizes just how much comes our way by virtue of the fertility of the earth, and the simple blessings of our lives. I think it is one of the most important festivals of the year. At Highlands, we take the whole month of October and focus on giving. Our theme this year is “Live Generously.” Our goal is to cultivate within ourselves, our community, and our world a different ethic- a different way of living and an alternative measure of true wealth.
It is what flows out of our life not what flows in that really matters.
As Anne Frank put it, “No one has ever become poor by giving.”
Rev. Will Sparks
Lead Minister, Highlands United Church