Friday, November 27, 2009

A Thanksgiving Lesson

I'm always trying to teach my children how God has truly blessed us. But sometimes, it's an easier lesson to teach when they see it for themselves.

Wednesday morning I told the kids we were going to do something different. We were going to buy food for the homeless and take it to a local shelter. I called Stewpot Community Services and asked what food they were needing for their Thanksgiving meal. "We could really use turkeys and canned vegetables," the lady said on the other line. We drove to Kroger and all piled out of the car. As Will and La-La rode in the shopping cart, Gracie and I picked the cans of food and put them one by one in the cart. We moved La-La over and placed several turkeys in the buggy beside her and bought the food.

As we drove to downtown Jackson, I asked the kids what did God give them that they were thankful for? Will piped up with, "My Lighting McQueen car, my clothes, you and daddy." Gracie chimed in with her list, "My shoes, my toys, my bed and my family." I explained what being homeless means and why some people don't have places to live. "You mean some people won't be eating with their families on Thanksgiving?" Gracie asked. "Why not?" I gave her various reasons: maybe they are embarrassed for their families to know they are homeless, maybe they don't have a family anymore or they don't know where they family lives, or maybe their family doesn't want them anymore. There were probably other reasons even I couldn't explain.

We pulled up to Stewpot and parked the car. A man with no legs rode by our car in a wheelchair. "Is he homeless, mama?" Will asked. I didn't know. Gracie noticed men and women sitting outside the center. "Are they waiting to eat?" Gracie asked. Yes, they were and I told the children the homeless in this area only eat one meal a day, if that much.

Some men came out to get the food out of the trunk and took it inside. As we drove off, Gracie became more aware of the people standing on the sidewalks. "If you're homeless, I guess the only friend you have at night are the bugs outside," she said.

As Christians, Jesus commanded us all to go and make disciples of others. But I'm always struck by what He didn't say. For example, Jesus didn't command, "Go when you're ready" or, "Go if you're in professional ministry," or, "Go, if it's convenient and if you've been given the money to help others."

Proverbs 3:27 says, "Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act."

Here's the amazing truth: what Jesus commands you and me to do is nothing less than what God created us to do and will empower us to accomplish. When you and I make a priority of multiplying in the lives of others what God has given us, we will find personal fulfillment and fruitfulness that we can't experience any other way!

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