If You Reap What You Sow, What Kind of Garden Would You Grow?

by | Jun 15, 2022

By Margie Boyd, Executive Vice President, Your Philanthropy

Sitting in a recent foundation board meeting listening to the wealth advisors give their financial forecast was a bit unsettling. Fear crept into the room and pulled up a seat. With inflation at a 40-year high, it made me wonder how this was going to affect this foundation’s giving with so many in need.

After the meeting, I tallied up the grants approved to the tune of $250,000. There were very few large grants. Most were small to medium size grants to a wide variety of causes. Once again, generosity and a commitment to a flourishing community won…not fear. This particular family foundation has been active for almost two decades. They have weathered many storms. And they just keep sowing seed.

When I got in the car to head home, still reflecting on aspects of the meeting, a song immediately captured my attention.

“This back-home drive’s got me reflecting.

Feels like God’s asking me some questions.

If you reap what you sow,

what kind of garden would you grow?”

Anyone who knows me knows this kind of question is my fuel. I’m a reflector by God’s design. I can’t help myself. It is in my DNA. Every strength test I’ve ever taken has pegged me as such. I’ve earned every inch of my scowl line in the middle of my forehead. I can remember teachers stopping in the middle of a lecture to ask me if everything was alright, not knowing what to think of my intense look. I’ve always just replied, “I’m fine. I’m just thinking.”

A good rhetorical question is like a bite from a flavorful piece of steak. You would never swallow it whole like a pet does being fed from the table. You’d take your time to enjoy every bit of goodness. I knew there was a reason I’ve always loved a good steak.

So, I’m asking myself as well as you, “If you reap what you sow, what kind of garden would you grow?”

There are so many possible applications to consider. You may want to grow in character qualities, from patience to kindness to courage to mentor youth from your children to your church to the local Boys and Girls Club. Or you may want to grow a home business from serving your family homemade tacos to serving your community with a food truck.

Maybe you already have a business and want to start giving back to the community by becoming a corporate sponsor. Or maybe you simply want to grow in your capacity to give. Whatever it may be, giving all starts with a seed. Start with what you can give. It may or may not even involve money at this time.

Start with what you can give and watch it grow.

  • Give your time.
  • Give your attention.
  • Give your resources.
  • Give within your capacity.
  • Give your best.

One of my greatest joys in life is to give, but looking back, most of my giving has been from the list above. I imagine most people have that same experience. Yes, we give our tithe, special gifts, and donations to those in need but probably in smaller amounts from $25 to $50 to $100 gifts. I think it is safe to say we are not all philanthropists, but we are all givers. And those small gifts all add up to change communities. They are the basis of all healthy nonprofits.

One of our foundation clients recently launched a matching pilot program. The purpose of developing the pilot program was to help some of their previously funded nonprofits strengthen the health of their organization by shoring up their base with new and lapsed donors. Small to medium-sized donations for general operations are the backbone of most successful nonprofits.

Our foundation client wants to see each of their funded organizations succeed. They don’t just hope they will succeed but are willing to help them succeed. They are tending to their garden from seeds first sown over 20 years ago. It’s the kind of garden they want to grow.

Like the Carrie Underwood song playing in my car recently, “If you reap what you sow, what kind of garden would you grow?” It is a question worth asking.

With a stormy financial forecast, high inflation rates, and rising gas prices, there has never been a better time for gardening with our friends, family, and community in mind.

Tell me about the garden you want to grow. 


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  1. Mary Virden

    Thank you for a great article! ♥️

    • Margie Boyd

      Thank you so much Mary!

  2. Kim Beckham

    Love this blog, made me think about how to sow better seeds in my giving.

    • Margie Boyd

      Thank you so much Kim! I’ve sure gleaned a lot from you in your leadership class.


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