Wow! What an emotional day it was yesterday! Our church service was about adoption. I left wanting to sell everything, move to Haiti, work in an orphanage and never have to see another kid in the world ever suffer again! Obviously, that’s a silly thought; but nonetheless, I left wondering how God was calling me to help those less fortunate. Then yesterday afternoon we joined many others in the community and delivered Thanksgiving dinner baskets in our surrounding area. We saw a lot of poverty. We saw some we suspect may have drug issues leading to their poverty and dysfunctional homes. Then we went to a couple of very nice middle class homes. Homes like what lives next to you and me perhaps—just average Americans.
The homes looked nice on the outside, but for them to be on the list for free turkey dinners, something had to be going terribly wrong on the inside. Perhaps they had lost a job and been unemployed for months–or even years. It might be that one of the adults in the family decided they didn’t want to be married anymore and the income of the spouse remaining in the home was greatly less than in the past. I can relate to that. Perhaps the main bread-winner was ill and the family was just trying to be there for him/her in their last days. Maybe that explains the homes in disarray on the inside. One never knows why someone is “on the list” so to speak. I was reminded that we could all be “on the list” at any given time for any given reason no matter who we are. I don’t even have to go to Haiti to find them!
Going from home to home with food baskets conjured up feelings I hadn’t felt in many years. You see, there was a time when I was a single mom and short on cash. I remember those who came to my door with bags of groceries because they felt God telling them to come. Not only did they come with groceries; but they came with stuff my picky children would eat! God even told them what to take! I had to swallow my pride to accept them but what a blessing it was to get a little help here and there. This time being on the giving side instead of the taking side was almost as hard. I know how embarrassed those on the receiving end might have been. It’s a humbling experience to be in that place. I’ve been there. However, on the giving side, you see those whose families have been turned upside down for one reason or another and a meal seems so insignificant. It leaves one with a feeling that perhaps your turkey dinner you just delivered was merely a band-aid on a gaping wound. We actually did nothing to help the family get out of the situation they are in. We simply gave them one day of hope amidst their overwhelming hopelessness. Then it’s back to reality. Does God think I failed? No. I know I was obedient to complete my tiny part of the big picture He has for that family’s future. In Matthew 25:40 (NIV) it says, “…Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” He didn’t say only the big things you do count; rather, He said whatever you do.
Our pastor challenged us Sunday to listen for what God is calling us to do no matter what it might be. Whether it is to adopt ten children, go start an orphanage or just volunteer, get involved with the local homeless shelter, start a Bible study in our home or simply take a bag of groceries to someone— whatever God is asking us to do , we need to just do it! Yesterday 225 meals were delivered. Our family delivered about 8. It took us about 3 hours to do it. It’s a good thing that so many other volunteers were called to deliver meals too or we still wouldn’t have it done yet! As a matter of fact, we wouldn’t be able to get it done before Thanksgiving even working day and night if we had to do it alone. The one small thing that I can do for God and for others doesn’t look like much. However, if each one of us is obedient to God when He calls, great things can be accomplished.
I am grateful for a God Who allows me to do His work here on this earth—it gives me purpose. I am thankful that I personally have had suffering and loss in my life—it gives me compassion and understanding for those I serve. I am blessed that He doesn’t expect me to do everything needing to be done. My heart is warmed to know that I have brothers and sisters in Christ all around who are ready and willing to take action at any given time just because God said to! This makes me part of a family even if my earthly family lets me down or in the case of the orphans—isn’t there at all. I’m thankful for the Holy Spirit’s guidance to tell me where to go, what to do and how God can use me today. That gives me power—the end result being a life lived with passion.
What are you thankful for? Is God using you? If not, why not? What little thing can you do to get started on your journey God has planned for you? How is He speaking to you today?
1Peter 4:10-11 (NIV) Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Happy Thanksgiving to all…go out and be a blessing!