October is my absolute favorite month of the year (except when it still feels like summer!). I love the changing temperatures, the activities of fall and especially the colors. I remember from high school biology class learning about photosynthesis, the process God gave plants to convert sunlight into energy for food. That food comes in the form of chlorophyll which is what makes leaves green.
However, at this time of year, when daylight decreases, so does that process. Trees begin storing up food for the winter. Chlorophyll decreases and so leaves start to change color, but here's where it gets interesting. Not every tree or plant has the same color. Only when chlorophyll goes away do we see a tree's true color.
We are no different. Usually when something we have come to depend on is removed our true colors appear. We may react in anger and shout, throw things or pout. We may get depressed and withdraw from people and life to send the clear message we are not happy! Or, we can act like a tree.
The withdrawal of a tree's life source is really a redirection. That "energy" is being stored to allow the tree to survive the winter ahead. When a tree loses its leaves, it is really an acceptance of needed change. And for a few brief weeks, we get to see trees at their most colorful.
In a couple weeks we will begin the season of stewardship when we think about all the ways we can support the ministry of the church in the year ahead. In other words, we begin thinking about redirecting our resources. Jesus calls this "storing up treasures in heaven." We invest in more than seasonal happiness. We put our resources in places that will bring life to others. That's what we do through the church. Totaling up the weeks of this year so far (40), our church has provided Sunday school experiences for over 11,000 children (roughly 290 each week) and 6,600 youth, care to hundreds of people in hospitals and nursing facilities, support to dozens involved in grief and divorce care, mission aid to thousands, access to worship online for nearly 18,000 people (again roughly 450 per week), not to mention worship services to more than 100,000 people! If you total up the weekly impact our giving makes, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
I like to think people are like trees. When we give away our resources we show our true colors and look our most brilliant!