Giving thanks means sharing with others
November 03, 2010 - November: when the vibrant yellows and reds of fall give way to the dirty browns of winter, before the snow covers the ground in a glimmering blanket of pure white.
It really can be a bleak and lifeless stretch of days.
Yet it is in this month that we choose to, as a nation, celebrate our gratitude for the bountiful life we have been given.
It's easier to be grateful when you have your job, your house and your family at your side. It's harder when, as so many around us have, you have lost your job and your house or your family is in turmoil. Life can seem bleak and lifeless.
Yet, there is always something to be grateful for. It may be the aid of a social service agency, the smile of loved one or even a stranger's kind word; there is always something to be grateful for.
What do you do when something good happens in your life? Do you remember to give thanks to the source, God?
What about when you pray? Do you remember to give thanks knowing that you have received?
Giving thanks in advance of the demonstration is the example given us by our Master Teacher.
In the sixth chapter of John we have my favorite version of what is known as the feeding of the 5,000. It is one of the few stories appearing in all four of the gospels.
"Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them." (John 6:11) Before they were multiplied, he gave thanks for what he had.
What happens next is sometimes portrayed as a sort of a magic trick, as if the five loaves were somehow magically multiplied to feed the 5,000 men plus who knows how many women and children leaving "twelve baskets with fragments" being gathered up after the feast.
Scholars familiar with the customs of the people of the time will tell you that they were not likely to travel into the wilderness without provisions.
There were no Kroger, Meijer or party stores on every corner. Travelers packed more than their anticipated needs and hid their stores with their baggage to discourage beggars and thieves.
The generosity of the lad with the five loaves and two fish was the catalyst which prompted an avalanche of sharing.
This is the true miracle. People who would not have normally shared freely did. Where do you think the twelve baskets came from?
Our opportunity is to participate in thanks living. Living in an attitude of gratitude we are grateful for the abundance even before we have received.
We demonstrate this by sharing what we do have - time, talents or treasury. We always have something to give, always something to be grateful for.
Thank you God for this day, our family, our friends, the joy we share, this wonderful life we live!
Matthew E. Long is senior minister
at Peace Unity Church & Holistic Center.