benevolence

Giving Thanks

In 2020 it’s hard to find things to be thankful for.  I remember in the great recession of 2008 that people fell out of the middle class and never found their way back.  I know there’s a large percentage of our population that make just enough to survive; and now a great portion of them have lost their jobs and could soon be homeless.

Used the Wrong Title

Wow – while I’m writing this I doubt I used the right title.  For me I can say that I’m thankful.  I’m retired on Social Security that makes up only half of my income (other half all 1099 from investments and not taxable by the city).  I have no debt and for several years have bought cars (used) with cash.  My house is paid for and has more stuff than I really need.  I’ve been married for 53 years to my first and only love as she had.

I am grateful.  I consider the life I live to be an undeserved blessing for a man with an abusive temper and unsure of himself.  The two reasons I’m blessed anyway is my wife and God.  And not just “God” but the Creator Loving Forgiving Just God of the conservative whole scale inerrant Bible God of a 6,000 year old Creation.

Unthankful

Now while I’m writing this I know there are people who could be unthankful but give thanks for each meal at a soup kitchen, a kind word, and a bed at a shelter.  But many are still unthankful.  I don’t know how I would be in the same circumstance.  I have volunteered at a rescue mission and know the stories.  I also know homeless people who are homeless by choice (rather involved stories).  I do know nationwide States closed down their asylums years ago leaving the mentally ill to wander the streets.

I will volunteer again should this pandemic end and my heart problems are fixed by surgery.  For me to help the people in need is a reflection of my thanks.  Many of my fellow church members point fingers and blame people in need.  And indeed there is blame for some.  But everyone in need has a need other than handouts.

Don’t Assume the Worst
A young woman giving money to homeless beggar man sitting outdoors in city.

Are we supposed to assume the worst and do nothing?  Or should we be finding ways to help them?  My experiences have shown me that there is deep-rooted distrust of anyone offering more than handouts.  When I served in a Pro-Life Crisis Pregnancy Center I had two signs on my desk.  One said “Love is spelled t-i-m-e”.  And the other said “my name is not ‘Sir’ it’s ‘Jim’”.  The people I engaged were not “others”, they were people just like me.

So for the most of us that do have something to be thankful for, what should we do?  I think if we’re truly grateful and Christians we’d be looking for ways to help the less fortunate.  Think of what we have and how we got to where we are.  And then ask ourselves if we can imagine what opportunities we had that others never had.  And first on that list are people that helped us.

Most of our churches have something for people in need – usually handouts.  But for our sakes and the sakes of people we would help we need to be looking for more holistic solutions.

And NEXT YEAR we’ll have something we never thought of to be thankful for.

Let’s turn a bad year into a good year – wayocross  

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