Perhaps we have Thanksgiving all wrong. We all know we should give thanks every day. I certainly have no objection to a day dedicated to this important practice. But Thanksgiving ought to be a day with your family if possible, and not a day of service. Is this a shocking statement? Churches across America are offering ‘Thanksgiving dinners’ to the needy. There are special offerings, people who give up the luxuries of their life in order to bless those who struggle in life. I’m glad that this spirit exists, but how did it get to be exhibited on a special day … only? It seems to me that we ought to be offering help and service to the disadvantaged every day. We ought to care about the homeless and hungry as a regular routine of life. Instead, we do all these special things on Thanksgiving and Christmas and feel very satisfied. Too satisfied. In the middle of March, who is asking about the poor? No one.
Hunger is on the rise in New York City. That’s what the soup kitchens say, as they feed so many. The U. S. Governement doesn’t like to use the word “Hungry” any more. It’s ‘food insecurity’. Would you like to play Bingo to have a bed for the week? These examples and others plague us. What can we do? The problem is so big … and we feel we have little to offer to help things get better. I think we have to focus on a few, and not be overwhelmed with the giant problem. There are ten thousand tear-jerking stories in every community. But what have we done for even one?
What stops us? The scams and rip-offs, the disingenuous and just plain ole liars! Larry James tells about a scam that he encountered this week. And then there is that sickening story of the ‘couple’ who appealed to a Memphis church for a home. The church was moved … spent $75,000 on a new home on the Coast and excitedly presented it to the couple. A few months later they sold it for $88,000 and moved to New Orleans. They are unashamed of their actions. The damage is done, though. How will this affect the willingness of people to give? Read about that HERE.
I do not have all the answers. This week’s Christian Standard has this blurb: Broadway Christian Church (Lexington, KY) opened its building for service—as well as services—this past weekend. On Saturday morning BCC used its facilities as a location for medical and dental screenings, distribution of food and winter clothing, and even hot showers for the needy in the community. www.broadwaychristian.com I think we have to start thinking outside of our loop a little bit and seeing the needs we previously ignored.
I really am thankful for everyone who reaches out during a holiday season to help others. But I think we need to focus on the other times. Asking our readers:
*Do any of you attend a church that provides lodging for emergency cases?
*Do any of you attend a church that provides short term lodging to help someone who needs to get back on his/her feet? (Someone recently released from jail, someone coming out of rehab, someone who recently lost their home for whatever reason.)
*Do any of us attend churches that participate in community food banks? Has anyone ever established a community food bank? (I need to talk to you if you say ‘yes’!)
*Do any of us have ongoing ministries aimed at the poor (aside from food pantries and clothes closets)?
Thanks for reading on this holiday weekend. Enjoy your families. Take a break. Learn to relax. Have a nap. Rest. It’s an upside down Thanksgiving. Re-energize your mind and body for service. Then serve as many as you can the rest of the months of the year.