For those of us in the United States, today is the officially designated day of Thanksgiving. It's especially meaningful to our family.
In 1683, thirteen Mennonite/Quaker families from Krefeld, Germany, sailed for 2 1/2 months to escape religious persecution and settle what is known as Germantown in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Our ancestor Jan Luykens and his wife, Maria, were among those original thirteen families.
Knowing persecution first-hand and thankful to God for their own deliverance, this small group began the first public protest of slavery in North America in 1688.
It has always struck me that those who experience deep thankfulness in their lives are also those who act on behalf of others who are oppressed. Yet we live in a time when "personal power" and financial power are touted as gods who will lead us into a personal promised land.
The truth of the ages shows otherwise. Thankfulness breeds a humility whose power surpasses any of that manufactured by the human condition. It focuses our attention on the needs of others and reminds us that we, too, have experienced some similar struggle. As a result, our eyes and hearts are opened in ways that allow us to act on behalf of a greater good.
So let us give thanks not only for what we have, but for what we are able to give.
And then give it.
(On Monday, November 26, we continue with the series on Change and look forward to seeing you there)