osewalrus (osewalrus) wrote,

Thanksgiving reflection

"This is what I have seen: It is an exceedingly beautiful thing to eat and drink and to see good in the work that you have labored under the Sun in the days that God has allotted to you as your portion. And every person to whom God has granted wealth or possessions -- and given to that person the power to eat of it, and take his portion, and rejoice in his labors -- this is surely a gift from God." Eccl. 5: 17-18

There are many people who labor and are not free to take what they have earned. There are many who are sick and needy and cannot labor. There are many who would gladly labor for what they need, but they can find no work. it is right and proper for those of us who are blessed by God to be thankful and to enjoy these gifts. So to, we must not forget our obligation to those whom God has not gifted -- or blame those not so blessed for their own suffering. To the contrary, God has given it to us, those he has gifted, to participate in building a better world by helping those who are in need. "For the poor shall never cease out of the land, therefore have I commanded you 'Open your hand to your brother, when he is poor and in need in your land.'" (Deut 15:11)

I cannot pretend to understand why God has blessed some of us (myself included) and left others in need. But I do know that he expects those he has blessed to help and comfort those he has not. Whether you think it is the role of the government to address this collective responsibility, or the role of each individual of conscience to "do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with the Lord your God," is not the point. What is the point is that I can recognize that God has blessed me and not others, that I am free to enjoy these blessings without guilt, but required to aid and comfort those who are not blessed. On a day of Thanksgiving and plenty, to remember the less fortunate should not be greeted as an admonishment, as a source of guilt to be avoided or an unpleasant duty to discharge. It is an opportunity to show true thanks to God for the opportunity to comply with his command to "open your hand to your brother in need."

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