It was October, 1929 when the stock market crashed, causing the Great Depression in America. Just short of a hundred years ago, my mother was 8 years old, lived on a farm with her parents and siblings. My dad was 10 and helping support his mother, brother and two sisters after their father deserted them. By 1933, 15 million Americans were unemployed and half of the banks had failed.
Fast forward to 2017. We abide in a land of lavish living – extravagant lifestyles – abundance and overspending. The unemployment rate as of October, 2017 was 4.1% of the population and in 1933 it was almost 25%. Give thanks!
My mom and her family were fortunate to live on a farm, because they had enough food to provide right at hand, but they suffered nonetheless. Hand me downs were not only the rule of the day, they were born out of necessity. There were no extras. People lived with what they had and didn’t even think beyond that. Their home was open to those who needed a place to work in exchange for room and board.
Today children have more than they need, are involved in extra curricular activities, and don’t always appreciate the luxuries they have. There’s often little time for family interaction, because both parents work and are exhausted when they get home. My dad sold newspapers and worked in a shoe factory at a time in his life when he should’ve been playing ball with his friends. Still if he hadn’t taken those jobs, his family wouldn’t have enough food to sustain them. Give thanks!
Every generation can look back at their family history and see the many struggles, losses, pain and depression their ancestors suffered. We are not immune to those same struggles. We still face death, disease, emotional scars, but modern medicine has made it possible to live longer, healthier lives than our grandparents. We have a bounty that far exceeds our needs. Give thanks!
Today, there are those who are homeless. There are children who have little to eat or wear, There will always be poverty. In the days of the Great Depression, communities of people helped each other to survive. Today we rely on the government to subsidize the poor. Churches used to be a great source of help for the poor as well. Today we bring items for a food shelf or write a check rather than visit a family in need and share our abundance along with God’s love. We have become accustomed to having others intercede. When we’re so blessed, we’re not living up to our commitment as Christians.
Are we willing to share our blessings with others? Are we willing to share even when our own earnings are meager? Do we have a greater gift to share than food for the body? With Thanksgiving right around the corner, examine yourself. Invite someone to dinner who has no relatives in the area. Volunteer to serve a Thanksgiving meal to the homeless. Do a random of act of kindness, not because you have to, but because you want to.
Above all, give thanks!