Giving Back…

So, here’s another editorial from The Echo that I wrote. 🙂 Enjoy.

As we begin the holiday season, let us remember to be thankful; not only for what we have, but for what we can give to those who might not have.
I wracked my brain as to how to write this column without sounding preachy or including too much of my personal religious beliefs in it. My conclusion? That’s impossible. Religion, giving and thanks all go hand in hand. You don’t need religion to be thankful or to give, but you can’t be religious and not be compelled to give or be thankful.
My God is an amazing God who has provided for me in ways I don’t deserve and has given me things of which I once could only dream. Even as I sit here, with my broken leg propped up and my crutches sitting beside me, I know that my family, friends, classes, work, newspaper, writing skills, camera and computer all give me reasons to live and be thankful.
God has presented me with talents to use at His disposal. It’s up to me how to use them and give back to a world that He has built so perfectly.
Today, as I write this, a veteran is homeless looking for a shelter to keep himself warm for the night; a child sits in an orphanage wondering why his mom and dad didn’t want him; a young woman is being abused by her husband; a young man is considering suicide as the only escape from his troubles.
Jesus, whether you believe Him to be a Savior or a just a good guy, said some pretty awesome things about giving.
He said we should give to anyone who asks of us and never turn away someone who wants to borrow from us. That’s a pretty incredible statement that too many people overlook. He said if someone asks us to go a mile with him, we should go with him two miles. He said we shouldn’t just love our friends, but we should love our enemies as well.
Sometimes our enemies are the ones we avoid on the streets. Maybe they smell funny. Maybe they sleep around. Maybe they drink too much or do drugs. Maybe they stole your wallet last week. Those stinky beggars were the people Jesus healed and counted on to continue His story of redemption. Those adulteress women were the ones He protected from the preachers of that time. Those thieves and drunks were the ones He left the church to.
The church He left was one based on helping the poor, the widows, the orphans. During this season, while you are running all over each other to buy the diamond your girlfriend wants, the new TV to watch the big game on or the next big iWhatever, take a moment to remember what you are thankful for, and why you are thankful for it. Take a moment to remember who has to give up a meal, so you can have a nice big piece of pumpkin pie on Christmas.
The American thought tends to be, “I worked hard for this and I earned it.” Maybe that’s true, and maybe you did, but that doesn’t stop someone from starving, and Jesus is pretty clear about who the Kingdom of Heaven is going to. That idea that you (or your mom or dad) earned you that pumpkin pie doesn’t make God’s Word less true.
“The young man said to Him, ‘All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’” Matthew 19:20-21
“But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love God abide in him?” 1 John 3:17

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