Let them offer thanksgiving sacrifices and declare what God has done in songs of joy! (Psalm 107:22, Common English Bible)
This is part 4 in the November Thanksgiving series, “Pass the…” for a listing on the other posts please see the index.
One of my favorite Thanksgiving memories came courtesy of my father-in-law, the late Mearl Oquinn Jr.
I don’t remember the year but of course we arrived at my in-laws early. Just about as quickly as we walked in the door Mearl handed me his car keys and just said, “Keith, Come on. Let’s go.” While the “request” was a bit unusual, it wasn’t totally unheard of either so I didn’t ask any questions and kept my winter coat on and walked right back out the door Cindy, the boys and I had just come in.
Once we were outside I said, “Are you sure you don’t want to drive? You know where we are are going.”
Mearl just said, “No, you drive. Take us up to the church.” While I don’t remember the year, I am pretty sure I was already in ministry. Even if I wasn’t, we attended different churches. Beyond that, we were in a town with several pages of churches in the Yellow Pages. Still, there was never a question in my mind where he intended for us to go. So, we got in his truck and headed to “the church.”
I still didn’t know why we were going there but getting an ice chest of ice or borrowing a fellowship hall table and some chairs were real possibilities. When we arrived at the church there were several cars there already. I did think that was unusual for Thanksgiving morning. Mearl told me to pull in and park close to the Fellowship Hall.
Once inside I saw Cindy’s oldest brother Jimmy inside. There were a few other people I knew. Then one of the church leaders began to speak. “If ‘Meals-on-Wheels’ drivers take Thanksgiving Day off, that would mean no food for their clients. We are stepping in to fill the gap. By each of us making a few stops, ‘Meals on Wheels’ clients still get their food and the drivers get a much deserved day off.”
Mearl and I got into a line. We got the names and addresses of four clients and an “ice chest” with the appropriate number of hot meals in it. Then we started out to make our deliveries.
There is nothing like stepping out to meet a need to remind you to first, be thankful of all you have and second, to realize just how blessed you are.
That day I was thankful for the opportunity to serve. This opportunity reminded me of my many blessings, one of which was that I had a family I could gather with to celebrate the blessings God gives to us. Some of these folks didn’t even have that. Other than perhaps the food in their delivered meal, Thanksgiving was just like any other day.
What sticks out the loudest for me, however, is how thankful each client was that day. At a time when they could have been bitter or angry for the lousy hand life had dealt them, these folks were thankful not only for the meal, they were thankful to me for having brought the food do them.
Our lesson today reminds us to offer thanksgiving sacrifices. I guess you could say that I was doing that but in retrospect, it just doesn’t seem like much of a sacrifice. Still, it makes my heart glad to sing this song of joy!
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Grace and Peace,
Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved