Journeys & Writings of Paul

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Give [thanks]

What are you thankful for?

I think about this question often, but on this particular holiday of Thanksgiving Day we are especially encouraged to reflect on those things that we are thankful for. I am not going to write out a detailed list, as I have much to be thankful for and it would be a long list. I will however reflect on what I have learned in the past several years about giving, gratitude and the like.

One of the most profound things that I have learned in the past five or so years is that you should give from what you have. This may not seem profound, but it totally changed my perspective on giving. On a particular day I felt bad that I could only make a certain contribution and thought to myself, "If only I had more money, then I could really give something that would make a difference. I'll aspire to make a lot of money in the future so that I have a lot to give away." Upon having this thought I was immediately convicted about my motive of giving and why it had to be a larger sum to really matter.

From that point on I told God that I would always give from what I have, no matter if it is big or small. It's a silly notion to wait to give a "meaningful" contribution until you can give a certain (and might I add arbitrary) monetary amount. Remember the story of the widow's offering in the gospels of Mark and Luke? Jesus tells his disciples that she has put more into the treasury in the kingdom of heaven with her two coins than the many rich people present who threw in large sums of money.

On the subject of giving, I ran for my second consecutive year in the Run for the Turkeys 5K race this morning! I really like this race because it raises money and canned food donations for a good cause, stocking the West Ohio Food Bank to feed hungry families right here in our own neighborhoods.

Here is the food I gathered for my contribution to the food bank.

Pre-race photos with Rachel and Chris. We were the barefoot running gang! It was quite a chilly morning for VibramFiveFingers!
And we're off and running!
 Eric was my photographer today and captured this amazing shot of me right as I was crossing the finish line! (Thank you The Little One!)
I was pleased with my time of 27:22 minutes! That's a three minutes faster than last year's 30:11, and only about 30 seconds over my average 5K time. I have been running technology free since coming back from my knee injury this summer because I knew I would either: 
a) become discouraged at how slow I have become due to my time off
b) push myself too hard, too fast
c) both of the above
So I really had no idea how fast or slow I would run today. Not my fastest, but I'll take it! I'm excited to continue training through the winter to get ready for some races coming this Spring as my knee slowly but surely continues to get better.
Traditional post-race picture with Anna
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I encourage you to give. Give thanks. Give of yourselves. Give in times of plenty. Give in times of need. Simply give! And always give thanks. I leave you now with these words from the book of Colossians:
"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
Colossians 3:15-17

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