By Pastor Mike Ashman   Zion Lutheran Church – Jubilee, Rural La Porte City

I have returned from my last picking of the strawberries. The Lord has been abundant this year. Yet we hoped for a couple more harvests to tide us over until the raspberries would start to ripen. It has been a very good year.

With the beautiful berries, very large and bright red, I have taken the very best of each harvest and shared them. Not the smaller leftovers. Yes, the largest most plump berries I could find. We still had more than enough for a couple weeks of strawberries with ice cream and angel food cake every night. Mom also made ten or so jars of jam, not to mention the many three cup containers we froze for the upcoming winter. God is good.

I was once told that the most productive time is right after we get up. We ply several cups of coffee – a good meal – then head off for the daily grind. We head into our work with the best that we have to offer. This makes me ponder about what we give to God, the stewardship of ourselves. All too often, the people of church hear stewardship, and expect the passing of the plate to follow. But there is indeed a call from God to be good stewards of our selves – our very lives.

I think back to the times I spent talking to children about their spiritual life. I ask them about their prayer life, and I receive this glazed look. After some prompting, they will say that they pray when they are afraid, when they need God’s help. All too often, I think this remains true for many people. When sailing the ship of life, prayer only enters in when the whole thing starts to sink (like the sailors of Jonah’s boat); we pray when things are going bad.

Now I will say that it is important to turn to God at these times. But if we truly believe in giving God our best (how about taking some of our morning drive time? – you know the time when we are at our best), and be stewards of that time. Write a card to someone, just because. Share a cup of coffee at the local bakery, pay it forward. Or just simply smile. And also give thanks; offer a prayer of thanks – it’s a matter of time – and we have plenty of time as a gift from God.