According to The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, last year the Backpack Program served 19, 051 chronically hungry elementary school students attending 481 schools in Oklahoma.
My 14-year-old daughter and I recently got into a small debate. We both love listening to music. We just don’t always appreciate the same music. This small debate broke out in the car as we were driving home. She was wanting to listen to her music while I was enjoying the Christmas music on the radio. She finally gave up and put her headphones in. Before she turned her music on she looked at me, rolled her eyes, and said, “It’s not even Thanksgiving yet.”
I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me; you were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I complain of want; for I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want. I can do all things in him who strengthens me.
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” –Colossians 3:12-17
It is one of the great stories of our faith…David & Goliath. It is the story of a powerful solider, Goliath. He is a giant of a man, who is strong and brash. Goliath is described as a “Champion of the Philistines.” They are the dreaded enemies of Israel. Goliath and the Philistines had come to the Valley of Elah, which is only about 15 miles from David’s home outside of Bethlehem. They had a strong army, better equipped than the army of Israel, led by King Saul. Things were not looking good for Israel. They were outmatched on this battlefield and there was no better example of that than the great warrior Goliath.
I hear so many people ask the question “Can I really make a difference?” They think because they are just one person, what they do doesn’t matter. This is not true. What they do matters. What we all do matters. It is like a ripple in a pond when you toss in a rock. The one action of the rock hitting the water, causes ripples that expand across the water. One act of kindness can have a ripple effect on the world around you.
I recently had the opportunity to attend a field trip with our kindergartener, Molly Anne. We had a great time at the pumpkin patch on a chilly Fall day. As you might imagine, it’s always an adventure with five year olds.
As I’ve watched the ongoing discourse in our nation, I could not help but think of James 3:1-12. I encourage you to read it today. The images James uses – a bridle, a fire, a ship – are all examples of the way our words can be so hurtful to others. James says we can use our words to praise God but also to curse other people. Then he says, “this should not be.”
These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”