It is easy around Thanksgiving to think of the many things to be thankful for. I can look at my family, my home, my job and be overwhelmed with gratitude. I have been reminded that not everyone has those basic things. I have been reminded how easy it is to overlook others. I have been reminded of simple gifts that can move mountains.
This year my oldest son has an internship doing outreach at an inner city church. This past week he was getting ready to leave and meet me for dinner when an older homeless gentleman came into the church. He was talking about ending his life. He said no one would know he was gone.
Jackson took the gentleman in to meet with the Pastor. They had a conversation and he was given some food to take with him. As Jackson was walking him out of the building and feeling that no enough had been done, he turned to gentleman and said, “I will not forget you.” The gentleman’s face lit up. He dropped his bag of food and gave him a big hug and said, “I’ll see you around.”
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you? “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25: 34-40 NIV)
Jackson gave this man the simple gift of dignity.The gentleman became a person who was seen and had value. As I enter this season of Thanksgiving and Christmas, this is what I want to focus on. I want to focus on the simple gifts that I can give others, kindness, grace, and hope. Jackson made a simple gesture that profoundly affected another life, and it is that simple. I know I won’t forget it either.
What is your focus this holiday season? Where can you spread simple gifts? Are you looking for opportunities? Share your experience here and breathe life and bring hope to others.