Finding something to be grateful for at the end of the day comes easily to those of us with a steady job, a roof over our heads, and a healthy family. It isn’t hard to find even the most trivial thing to give thanks for: a blue sky, a happy dog, clean water to drink.
But for hundreds of thousands of children throughout Utah living with food and shelter insecurity, this can be a sad assignment. And who would dare give it to them? Voices for Utah Children tell us that there have never been so many children living in poverty in this state. Utah families are seeing hours cut, paychecks shrink, and the ever-present prospect of temporary homelessness. They’re one medical crisis away from the street.
Sometimes there’s nothing harder than trying to be thankful. But gratitude is the soil in which the seed of faith grows. The apostle Paul tells us his secret to living in plenty and want, is gratitude. That’s hard wisdom. And yet Paul’s faith kept growing whether he was in prison, or suffering from chronic epilepsy, or seeing the gospel spread: “in everything by prayer with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Gratitude grows faith. It’s the soil in which the seed of faith grows best. And our gardening God planted the seed of faith in us with a promise given in our baptism: nothing will ever separate us from God’s love. Nothing? Not even homelessness, hunger, or suffering? Not even death itself, is the promise. Even when we can no longer believe, God is still faithful to this promise and keeps sending people of faith to be reminders of that promise in the worst days of life.
At Mount Tabor, we give thanks that God’s love empowers us to respond to the need around us. Thank you for your overwhelming financial generosity this year that has helped us be a blessing to old and new mission partners. Our Stewardship Commitment Sunday will be November 24, and we’ll have the chance to state our intention of financial giving at Tabor for 2020. This is a place of grace, and a place where faith grows. We give thanks that we have mission partners like the Homeless Youth Resource Center, the Utah Food Bank, Family Promise, The Road Home, and Crossroads Urban Center to help us be the reason others can give thanks. We grow our faith with gratitude so that we can discover how much we have to share: the good news of a promise-keeping God of love; our volunteer energy and financial resources that sustain our mission partners; and the ability to bring resources together as a congregation with our Food Barrel, weekly offerings, and special appeals. We collected over 2,000 diapers and 18 boxes of wipes for the Crossroads Diaper Drive last month!
As we take a moment to count our blessings in this season of thanks, may we count the many children in our spiritual care at Mount Tabor, as well as the children most at risk in our community. May our gratitude for all God’s gifts continue to grow our ability, and our desire, to live God’s love in the world.
With over-flowing thanks for the gift of all of you,