“Who counts?” is a question asked by society, cultures, groups, and individuals. The gospel reminds us that it is an ancient question asked in Jesus’ day as in ours. When it is posed to Jesus indirectly, he answers it with a parable. Because parables don’t offer direct answers, it leaves us wondering for ourselves, “Who counts in the kin-dom of God?” or “Who counts in the church?” or “Who counts at TLLC?” We get a hint at the answer from our other scriptures though. Our God is able to do miraculous things, growing trees in the desert wilderness. Our God is able to supply grace beyond measure, welcoming the lost and “the found” as well as the rich and the poor, the healthy and the broken, the weak and the strong. In God’s kin-dom, everyone counts of course. The tougher question is: who counts in our little kingdoms? This year, as we strive to Grow a Generous Faith by Strengthening Stewardship, we will be stretched to see stewardship in different terms that we are used to. How can we steward relationships with those in our congregation and community? How can we care for the forgotten or those who feel unwelcome? This year, let us strengthen our ministry one relationship at a time so that whether someone is the first or the ninety-ninth sheep, they know that they count in God’s flock and in TLLC’s!