Today we come to the end of this series. We are talking about being thankful for “things.” It is part of the acronym P.O.E.T. It stands for:
There is a reason “things” comes last. We are certainly thankful for things – but people, opportunities, and experiences need to come first.
No matter how much or how little we have, there is nothing we have except what God gives. In life, we will find there will always be people who have more. There will always be people who have less. When it comes to finding contentment, we will never find true contentment in things.
It is often the people who have the most that are the least content. There is always the elusive “more” out there. Once you acquire more, there will still be more. If you have your heart set on more, you will never arrive.
There is also the adage of “be careful of what you wish for.” The more you have, the more responsibility you hold. God did not give you what you have simply for yourself. He gave you what he gave you to supply your needs and the needs of others. We will all one day give an accounting of how we used what God entrusted to us.
Americans will spend millions of dollars buying gifts for one another this Christmas. We will give our children toys that they will play with on Christmas Day and then barely touch again. Think about what you received for Christmas last year. Many of us can’t even remember. Why do we so lavishly spend on each other, giving things we don’t need? I often wonder if our gift giving during Christmas truly honors the Savior we celebrate on that day.
There is something I heard some time ago. It was the idea of living simply so that others can simply live. It is the idea of foregoing the luxuries that we don’t need to help supply the basic needs of others. It is choosing to drive a good reliable used car instead of buying the luxury Mercedes on credit. It is choosing to live in a house I can afford that fits my family rather that taking a mortgage that will force me to live paycheck to paycheck. It is realizing that even though that large screen HDTV on sale for Black Friday was a really good deal, the TV I have works perfectly fine. We then take the money we would have spent on ourselves and use it to be a blessing for others. It’s about making eternal investments. This is how Jesus says it:
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19–21 (ESV)
One of the most significant things that I have been able to participate in the last few year is working in Haiti. Our church has taken on sponsoring more than 50 children at the Timoun se Espwa Demen Orphanage (translated Children are the hope of the future). When I first walked into this orphanage less than two years ago, they had nothing. There was no food. The children slept on the concrete floor of a two-room house. The orphanage wall was broken down from the 2010 earthquake. School was not even a consideration.
Since that time, we have sponsored these children by sending a regular financial support. We have also taken several mission trips to the orphanage. The children have a new lease on life. The children of the future indeed have hope!
These are precious children. Check out this video that was recently sent to us this Thanksgiving:
This Christmas we want to something special for these children, and I want to invite you to prayerfully consider participating. We would like to buy bicycles for these children. We realize that bicycles are not a need in a country filled with overwhelming needs. But we wanted to do for these children something we would do for our own children. With a modest goal of $1000 on Giving Tuesday, we can make this a Christmas to remember for these children.
If you would like to learn more about this opportunity or would like to participate you can do so at this link: haitianchildrensministry.org/bicycles-for-christmas.
Thank you for being a blessing!
Questions for Reflection
- What some “things” for which you are grateful?
- Why is it more important to be grateful for people, opportunity, and experiences?
- Why does God give us “things”? How can you use your “things” to honor him?
- Share your comments.