A special partnership began on January 1, 1937, when wedding vows were exchanged between Lloyd and Gertrude Canaday. Other vows were taken that day also. Promises were made to never go to bed angry, to have both morning and evening worship, and to always remain faithful to their heavenly Father in tithes and offerings. This was not done out of obligation but because it defined their relationship, to each other and to God.
Stewardship was not an obligation or a way of life. It defined the relationship. It was not dependent on prosperity, convenience or on promises of great wealth. Their faithfulness had no strings, loopholes or golden parachutes. It was based on the promise that God would never leave or forsake His family.
Too often we look at stewardship stories as a ship about to come in or a positive turn in fortune. This is not usually the case. Stewardship in the Canaday family is not about money, it’s about relationship. Their story is about faith that saw them through many hardships and heartaches as well as the rewards and abiding joy in the Lord.
Farming was a way of life to many families in western Washington in the mid-1940s. Lloyd and Gertrude were blessed with a young family of four boys and a girl. A tragic accident happened on the farm that caused the death of their three-year-old son. God does not shield us from heartache. He only promises to be there with us and remind us of His promise that He will not let us face it alone.
As time went by, an opportunity to move to Rochester opened up. The family moved there and continued to raise their family. Tragedy struck again as their house caught fire and burned to the ground. The Adventist churches in the area were quick to help. Church members brought baby bottles and diapers before the fire department left the house. God often works through His churches to bring relief to those in need.
Realizing that farming would not support a family committed to Christian education, Lloyd reluctantly went to work as a welder at the Bremerton, Washington, shipyards, driving back and forth every day in a carpool before it was in style. The work was hard and the days were very long, but their children received a Christian education.
As the years went by, land prices went way up and the farm provided for the family in ways they never knew were possible when they bought it. There have been real financial blessings along the way. But the greatest blessing has been the path, safe to follow, that this family has walked. Their life of faithfulness and generosity is one that can be pointed to as an example of how to live a successful life.
Gertrude celebrated her 90th birthday in October. They have been married 67 years. A fitting text to describe this family is Psalms 37:25: “I have been young and now I am old, but never have I seen the righteous forsaken or her children begging bread.”