On Thursday, my oldest daughter and her husband joined my niece, my father, and my sister and me to celebrate Thanksgiving. After eating a delicious meal, we decorated the Christmas tree while my son-in-law played the piano. It was lovely!
Throughout the day, I kept telling myself that I needed to write a Thanksgiving blog, but besides a few memories, all but one having to do with Thanksgiving Day, nothing came to mind. Since the same few memories have continued to go through my head ever since, I have decided to just go ahead and write about them.
“Can we please buy him something to eat?” I once again petitioned. Our family had been driving most of the night so we could celebrate Thanksgiving with relatives in Denver. It had been snowing since New Mexico. We had pulled into a fast food restaurant to get a quick bite. As I sat around the table with my husband and our four children a homeless man walked in the door and sat down at a table near us.
I asked my husband if we could buy the man something to eat. He had told me “No!” I’m not sure why I thought that he would have answered differently. In those days he had no sympathy at all for the homeless. The answer had always been, “No!”. But it was Thanksgiving, and my heart was breaking for the man. So I reduced myself to begging and asked twice more. The last time was just before the man got up and walked out of the door. We left shortly afterwards.
As we drove away, I saw the homeless man walking down the street in his worn coat. Snow continued to fall around him. Tears began to roll down my face. I felt so helpless. I looked at my husband and said, “Nobody should be hungry and cold on Thanksgiving Day!” He kept on driving.
A FEW YEARS LATER
“Let’s get him something to eat!” my kids chorused. We were on another holiday road trip. Since the divorce, my kids and I had been led to give money or food to homeless or needy people on many occasions. On this particular day, the Lord had stirred our hearts to bless a homeless man near the gas station where we filled up our car. We drove to a fast food establishment, bought him a meal, and gave him a blanket. As we drove away we thanked God for blessing us so we could bless others.
“Please pray that I can catch some fish so I can feed my family?” His desperate plea pierced my heart. I was standing in front of a prayer line at a late night crusade in the Philippines—another man, another need. We were in an impoverished area where many people still lived in what resembled crude tree houses. For a moment, I felt the same hopeless feeling I had felt the Thanksgiving when my husband wouldn’t give me money to buy food for the homeless man. But this time I was not begging an unsympathetic man, I was serving a compassionate God. As I looked into this father’s despondent eyes, I looked into my heavenly Father’s heart. As a single mom, God had provided for my family in so many miraculous ways, seeing God do the impossible had become our normal. Although I had nothing to give the man, I knew that God did! There would be no tears rolling down my cheeks this time. I placed my hand on the man’s shoulder and agreed with him, knowing that God cared and would provide.
As I thought of these times of wanting to bless and being able to bless others I was so incredibly thankful. I am thankful that God has given me freedom in so many areas of my life. I am thankful that God has blessed me to be a blessing. And I am thankful that when I don’t have whatever others need financially, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually, God does! And He is more than ready to provide!
FYI-One day many years later, my ex randomly commented, “Just so you know, quite a few homeless individuals around town have eaten hamburgers since that Thanksgiving in New Mexico.”
Yes! I am so very thankful!
Thanksgiving has now passed, but we should always have thankful hearts. This holiday season, I pray that we would be sensitive to the needs around us, bless others, and always keep in mind and that God loves us.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[a] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31 NIV.)
Have a blessed day!