(Giving When the Going Gets Tough)
OR (Giving Thanks and Giving Back)
Well, there is no mistaking it. This year’s Thanksgiving is going to look different than year’s past. The realities of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to make gathering with one another difficult and risky. Many of our tables will be set for less people than we hoped.
But there are some things about Thanksgiving COVID can’t touch. Among them are spending money (do not get me started) and counting our blessings. Let’s stick with the latter. Thanksgiving, after all, is a time to stop and take inventory of the many ways we are blessed.
As I was thinking about the Thanksgiving holiday recently, a reading I heard at church just a couple of weeks ago came to mind. It was of a landowner who gave his servants an incredible amount of wealth then took off to a distant land. To one he gave a century’s worth of wages, to another 4 decades, and even the last got 20 years worth of daily wages. No matter how you break it down, the landowner showered his servants with his abundance (Matthew 25). The expectation was that the servants would use the wealth wisely and then it would grow. We know that was the idea because when the landowner returned to find that two of the servants had but the last had not, he held none of his disappointment back.
In reading Jesus’ parables, we remember of course that stories about farming aren’t actually about seeds, stories about vineyards aren’t about making better wine, and stories about lost coins aren’t commercials for treasure hunts. In the same way, this really isn’t about straight up money or investing in the market. Instead this is an invitation for us to consider all of the things that our Lord has given us and to ask ourselves what are we doing with them? Are we sharing them, growing them, and spreading them? Are we risking our own comfort, giving when it is hard, and prepared to return what we have to our maker? Or are we paralyzed by fear, driven by mindsets of scarcity, and convinced we have been given what we have to hold on to for ourselves?
Of course, there is no better time to consider not only what we have been blessed with but how we are using it than right now. Thanksgiving is not merely about giving thanks, but about giving back.
And in a world where worry abounds and risk shrouds every decision, may we not forget to continue to embody generosity and share from the abundance we have been given even when it is hard. The world needs that witness from us now more than ever.
For more inspiration and insights from Pastor Scott and Pastor Shawn’s past columns, please visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on the Faith Matters page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.