Word for Word

by Rev. Kevin Smith

The beautiful fall colors are fading quickly and the harvest is going full steam ahead. In this month of November we realize the fruit of our labors. Politicians after months of campaigning and mudslinging are able to relax for a while and prepare to reap the benefits of the results. Some will be preparing to serve in their newly elected office and the others will return to a normal life perhaps preparing for the next election.
On Veterans’ Day we celebrate the sacrifices of those who labored by fighting for this country so that we might enjoy the freedom to work and enjoy the fruits of our labors. In some places men, women and children labor and all their work is not for their benefit but for the continued increase of wealth of their political and industrial leaders with their only compensation being allowed to survive. I thank God that we are free to work and enjoy the fruits of our labors and I thank those who gave to insure that freedom.
November is also the month that we celebrate Thanksgiving. A day set aside to thank the Lord for the bounty we have received from the harvest and the bounty we share with others. So much of today’s culture focuses on the bounty we receive from the harvest that we ignore the bounty that we could share with others.
It is surprising how many of us do not realize how poor we are as we celebrate the plenty that we have. If you think about it, you are not rich unless you can give something of value away. One day Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were given and observed the people putting in money.
I know a lot of people who have large incomes but they cannot give any money to charity because it would decrease their standard of living. I know people who work nine-to-five jobs but cannot volunteer any time because that would take away from their life style. As Jesus watched the offerings many rich people put in large sums of money giving from their excess.
I also know people with no savings and huge debt struggling to get by but they always seem to be able to help others; these are the people who have true wealth. I applaud those who can give and pray for those who would “if only they had more.” A poor widow woman put in two small copper coins which was all she had to live on. Jesus spoke to his disciples saying that this poor widow gave more than all the rest because she gave out of her poverty while they gave out of their excess.
How truly poor are we when even those considered low income in our nation are among the top half of the wealthiest people in the world. Still those with steady jobs, a home and more than enough food cannot give anything lest they deny their own desires.
I would ask each of you to consider if you will be able to truly give thanks on Thanksgiving Day for the abundance that you have received. In order to do this you must be able to give freely whether it be money, time or some other gift that God has blessed you with.
Remember to truly be able to celebrate the bounty God has given you, you must be able to give some away. I do hope and pray that you can look back at this year on Thanksgiving and say “I am blessed.”

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV)