As most of us prepare our lessons for the upcoming holidays, there is no doubt most of us will plan to talk about Thanksgiving in one way or another. As I started that process this year I was swept back into memories and thoughts from previous mission trips. So, this is my argument that Thanksgiving is the perfect time to talk about missions.
I’ll never forget the day that changed my whole way of thinking. We were selling stuff at our annual community garage sale when my five year old daughter at the time asked if she could sell lemonade and then donate her money to charity. I went online to research charities and I discovered Bloodwater Mission, they say that $1 can help 1 African have clean water for 1 year…wow.
What I realized that day was that many people have gone to great lengths to make it easy for us to help people responsibly and easily. Well, long story short, that set off a series of events that changed my life. I decided I could no longer ignore these global issues. I realized that simply by changing the way I bought things could make an impact in other people’s lives. So I made the leap to fair trade coffee, and explored the idea of “Social Justice.”
A funny thing happened after that. I could not look at the scriptures the same way… Micah 6:8, The Gospels, the book of James, Proverbs, Psalms, and even part of the Epistles. All of these books talked about taking care of orphans, widows, and bringing fairness and justice to everyone that we can.
Now, this is a controversial idea today in many churches, and I am not saying I am right or wrong, but Thanksgiving is a time when we should think about these things. We live in a country of waste and excess, and as we gather together with family to celebrate over piles of food, I simply ask that we think about others.
On Thanksgiving Day as we over indulge, there will be children going to bed hungry, there will be a farmer who receives pennies for the coffee he grows, there will be children in Africa who don’t have shoes and have to have their feet amputated. Most of us may have seen this first hand while leading mission’s trips and I say we tell our teens about this NOW instead of this summer.
I was ashamed that my five year old was more aware of these horrible situations than I was, after all I am a preacher. Let’s not waste this special time of year, and this Thanksgiving lets think about those who are less fortunate. I’m not saying we shouldn’t feast this holiday feasting is in the Bible as well and is actually one of my favorite ideals. I am simply saying lets not be wasteful with our resources without helping others with them first.