As we celebrate Thanksgiving, I can't help but think of the countless people in this world for whom there is no such day. It's simply like every other day -- living painful, destitute and sorrowful lives with no cause to smile, let alone celebrate.
Did you ever have to wonder where your next meal will come from? Or if you’ll have to sell your child in order to eat. Most of us can’t even imagine such a plight, since we’re living in ‘a land of milk and honey’. More often than we’d like to admit we’re on the opposite end of the spectrum; we find ourselves complaining, “What, no dessert today!” As if going without rich cheese cake would bring on indescribable hunger pangs.
If you’ve paid attention to the news lately, you’re aware, that for far too many, hopelessness is the norm; in their bleak future all they can see is pain and starvation. In all likelihood, they’ve never even had the privilege of savouring cheese, never mind bemoaning the fact that there’s no dessert on an already richly laden table! The heart-wrenching images and stories of poverty and malnourishment should not only magnify how blessed we are, but more importantly, compel us to try to make a difference. We’ve heard numerous accounts that there’s enough food in the world for everybody, it’s just not evenly divided. If that is true, what could we do to spread the wealth?
Some are already making a difference in a variety of creative ways: For a number of years now Joyce Kehler Hildebrand in Niverville, MB has been repurposing material to sew beautiful bags. Proceeds from these beautiful bags help fight poverty in Darfur. (bags4darfur.blogspot.com) Others have partnered with organization like the Mennonite Central Committee and The Steven Lewis Foundation, via various outreach programs to improve the lives of impoverished nations.
Still, isn’t there more that individuals and organizations could do? Next time we bow our heads in gratitude over an abundant table, may we remember, while we enjoy fine dining, others are dying for lack of food. When we bring home another load of grain, may we remember, one less load of wheat in our bin may not make a difference on our own table, but would mean everything to a hungry family. God did not bless us with bountiful harvests to keep it all for ourselves – share the wealth! May our attitude of gratitude reach beyond our own circle, radiating love and compassion for fellow human beings in need.
Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matthew 25:40