November has become the month of thanks, not just the host of a day of thanks known as Thanksgiving. I see people posting on facebook every day what they are thankful for. I love reading these posts because they remind me to be thankful too: oh ya, I, too, have healthy children; oh ya, I do have a job I love; oh ya, I too have friends who love me as I am; oh ya, I did have a yummy lunch today. I even see posts in the late evening that say, “Wait! I almost forgot! Today I’m thankful for…” like this is the only time they can say these things. I’m not saying this is wrong, (and last year I did post daily in November!), but I find that I need to put my thanks into action more often.
The FaithWorks! elementary children are in the middle of their “stewardship” series called, LIFE in God’s World. And we’re trying to help them see amazing gifts from God which include this world we live in, the life He’s blessed us with, and ultimately His Son, who came so that we could have a perfect relationship with God. When we come to recognize all that God has created or done for us, our lives begin to show evidence of these gifts.
At a young age, we can begin to learn and understand the importance of being a good steward. Not just with our money, but with our selves. We were created to give. We can give. We do give. If giving settles in our core at a young age, that can lead to giving of our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service and our witness.
Last week, we learned that being good stewards of our lives shows when we care for God’s world and everyone in it. This is something God created mankind to do. The Bible tells us that we are made in His image and Psalm 145:9 says, “The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made.” So, in obedience, our lives should care with compassion. One first grader decided he would visit all 50 states to pick up trash. He was concerned that that just cleaning up one would not be enough! He’s beginning to see that compassion “goes a long way”.
Today I am thankful for one of our small group leaders who shows a compassionate heart. Doug Farmwald is one of our 5th grade small group leaders. Doug has been involved in FaithWorks! for several years now. He’s a committed small group leader, he always shares himself at our summer outreaches (VBS or other), and has offered to take a week’s vacation so he can go to Camp Lakewood with us this summer!
One of my favorite memories from a recent Vacation Bible School includes Doug and his younger son. It was during our large group gathering and we were all singing. Doug was decked out in a pirate hat, scarf and more than likely even an eye patch! He was singing away and getting into the motions!! His son, Jacob, who was in third grade at the time, was standing next to him, watching. He was watching his dad. I was waiting for the eyes to roll, as he was heading into those awkward pre-teen years. But I was surprised when, after watching his dad intently for a few moments, Jacob turned toward the stage and started singing right along with everyone else! I loved that in that moment, a dad was modeling to his young son a way to worship God!
Last Sunday, Doug warned me that he may have to miss a few weeks of FaithWorks! He was apologizing to me that he may not be here. But Doug has a compassion for our world and the people in it. He works for the Red Cross. He and a team were getting ready to deploy to the east coast to help with the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
And he was sharing that he was eager to go! Not because of the impending disaster and the adventure within that. But because he was going to have an opportunity to help people in need. He would be able to serve God’s people with compassion.
We have many people in our congregation who serve God with compassion. I am thankful for every one of them. Like those daily posts on facebook this month, when I hear a story about someone helping another compassionately, I am reminded: oh ya, there is good in this world; oh ya, we can make a difference; and oh ya, GOD wins.
Thank you, Doug, for Living In Faith Every day. Thank you, God, for being You.