by Edy T Johnson
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A young mother huddles in the most basic of shelters. She is alone, except for the baby whimpering softly in her arms. Too weak to nurse properly, the little one slips slowly into eternity. Fear, grief, and her own hunger gnaw at the core of this mother's being. "What can I do?" She shivers in the dark of the desert night, with only the stars keeping vigil.
At home in America, my door is securely locked against the elements and the evils of the city night. I rise from my desk and head for the kitchen. So much to choose from, I take a moment to debate whether it is a cup of tea I want, or something more from a well-stocked refrigerator. The thought strikes me and moves my heart. "Why, Lord, do I have so much when others have so very little?"
I don't suppose anyone can satisfactorily decipher why the haves have and the have-nots don't. Answering that "why" isn't our job, anyway. Responding to particular needs is. And, we can observe in wondrous ways how God prepares hearts for the work He calls us to do.
* * *
From the time she was a highchair toddler, Clairey displayed a spirit of generosity. Whatever she had in her bowl, she was ready to share. Sticky fingers reached deep and she held out a fistful for Grandma, or anyone else close at hand.
By age four, Clairey radiated definite signs of a nature full of hospitality. She would offer, "You can come to our house for supper." Or, "You can come to our church." Or, "Would you like some water?" She sounded so grown-up that it made me chuckle every time.
Clairey really has nothing she can legitimately offer to others. Everything she "possesses" is actually the property of her parents. Yet, I'm sure her willingness to invite others to share what she has delights her dad and mom as it does her grandparents. She is a lesson in "thanks-living." She may be too young to actually recognize that she is on the receiving end of others' provision. She simply enjoys what she has and wants others to be part of her bountiful world as well.
We're really all in the same boat. Nothing of what we claim is really "ours," after all. "All that we have comes from God, and we give it out of His hand," the old motto of World Vision explains. It is so true.
"To whom much is given, of him will much be required." Another scripture* reminds us. God created us to be vessels for His treasure, not for keeping as hoarded resources, but as pitchers, receiving the fullness of His gracious provision and overflowing that blessing into the lives of others. Clairey sets us a wonderful example. She doesn't even wait to be asked. She lives to offer. Based on her own experience, she simply trusts that whatever anyone needs can be provided. *Luke 12:48 (RSV)
One night, Clairey's older brother stayed overnight with us to attend an early morning concert, an assignment for his music lessons. It dawned on us that Clairey might not understand why Grant was "missing" when she woke in the morning. So, we had him phone home to talk to her. He chuckled during their conversation. When he finished, we asked him if Clairey was worried about him. "Yeah," he said. "She told me 'If you wait on the corner, Daddy can come and get you!'"
What a picture of assurance! Clairey had no doubt at all that her daddy would do just what she said he would. I think that example goes beyond simply trusting. Clairey was, in effect, sticking her neck out, making promises she certainly couldn't honor on her own.
As we enjoy the bounty that is ours, gratitude to God and compassion for others both register in our hearts. Thus moved to action, our Thanksgiving grows into thanks-living. It seems to be part of Clairey's very nature. It may not come naturally to many of the rest of us. But, by the power of His Holy Spirit, God will conform us to the image of Christ Jesus, who lived to die for us all and usher in His new creation.
'Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the LORD has comforted his people, and will have compassion on his afflicted. But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me, my Lord has forgotten me." "Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have graven you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.' Isaiah 49:13-16
Copyright 2007 ---Edy T Johnson---
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Sorry it took me so long to get here - but Wow, Edy!! This is Fantastic! I laughed and I cried, both! If that doesn't prove you bring emotion out in your reader...I don't know what will! I would say this is the "Best" of your work...top drawer as they say. Truly a blessing to read. Thanks for posting - You made my day!
Thank you, Edy, for this wonderful reminder of what it means to live a life of Thanksgiving. You are a true blessing.
What a beautiful piece! Your analogies are so right and true. I love your "Clairey." The idea of "thanks living" is just perfect.
This was an extremely encouraging and uplifting piece to read. The beginning with the young mother was so bittersweet, seeing the contrast between the two scenes. This would be a great article to get into a magazine or maybe your church bulletin for Thanksgiving week! ^_^ Excellent writing!