Thankfulness and giving


I’m sitting in Maxi’s, Hatfield, and I’m having a nice tallish cup of coffee. Thanks to my brother, Willem de Lange (I know him as Willie or “broer”), I am able to work on a laptop. Unfortunately it doesn’t have a battery, so I need a place to plug it in. And that is where the waitresses of Maxi’s came in. The took my to a table where I could plug in my brothers laptop so that I am able to work. Thank you Willie and thank you waitresses of Maxi’s, Hatfield, for making it easier for me to work.

When last have you been thankful for the little things in your life?

When last have you shown your thankfulness?

For me it will be relatively easy to thank the waitresses of Maxi’s. I’ll give them a slightly bigger tip than 10% and write something on the slip. (I hope that this note will advertise their friendliness so that it will increase their customers and they will see that as thanks as well.)

I also want to thank my brother. Thanks that you are trusting me with your laptop and that you have “downgraded” yourself in a way to your normal computer. Thanks a lot for that! (You better read this note!)

The real reason for this note is the cold… Did you feel the cold this morning? Do you appreciate it? What? You may ask how on earth can someone appreciate a cold like this!!

Well, this morning, as I stepped outside, I was struck by the extreme cold! I couldn’t help but to think of two things. Thank God that I can walk outside and FEEL the cold! And thank God that I have warm clothes to give some comfort against the cold! (And thank God that I slept in a bed last night which have a warm blanket and that I didn’t freeze!)

Hoe many people are out there who don’t have a single jersey, not even to speak about a blanket. A few weeks ago I walked into a shop, wanting to buy a blanket to give some organization who hands out the blankets (they do have a better knowledge of where the need is). I was startled at the prices of blankets! I’m sorry to say, I couldn’t afford one. I did put away some money, and hopefully I’ll have enough at the end of the month to go and buy one.

Have you ever sat at church and wondered “What can I do to help (the poor)?” I believe that that is a great place to start. But then you have to go out and actually find out! Do some homework. Search for some place where you can offer your time and your money! I hate it if people preach in such a way that I feel I’m doing nothing, just because I don’t have the money or the time that some other people have. I’m done feeling guilty after such a sermon. So I won’t try to make you feel guilty either. You know what it is you can do. Start doing it! If you can hand out one cup of soup a week, do that! If you can afford one blanket or jersey, buy that! If you are able to give one hour a week to serve someone in need, do that!

Different people also have different passions. My passion is to serve the youth, and especially leaders and hockeyplayers. Your passion might be to serve the elderly, or the children, or the lame, or the ….. you get the picture. Start looking for place who share your passion, and start to volunteer there. Even if it is with your one hour a week or one blanket a year!

I sometimes get the feeling that there are more people like me. People who are frustrated when they hear of these awesome ministries and immediately hear that they have to give; and then they compare their little to someone else’s much. Stop that! Stop comparing what you have, or don’t have, with what someone else have (or don’t have!). Just start serving people with the little you have. Serve God with the little you do have.

In that way God can actually start working through you – not just in you!

I’m reminded of a little boy who once had five loaves of bread and two little fishes. You can read the whole story in John 6:1-15.

I’d like to imagine a conversation like the following.

Boy: “Umm, sorry, Jesus, sir, I don’t have much. Only these five loaves and two fishes. I don’t know what good it will do. Maybe you could use it a feed at least a few people?”

Jesus: “Don’t worry, son. I can use what you give. Just watch.”

After He thanked His father, there must have been such a big amazement in the eyes of that little boy.

I have to wonder, if we are willing to give out little, if we would also stand amazed at how God uses that.

I also wonder about the widow who gave her two coins. It was everything she had! Did she ever see whether that little was used, together with many other people’s little, and much, to put food on tables and give blankets for the poor? I don’t know. The Bible doesn’t say either. But Jesus did point to her as an example of faith and faithfulness. (Read that in Mark 12:41-44 – isn’t it interesting that Jesus actually went to sit where the people gave their offerings, to wait for the woman, as though He wanted to give her hope that her little doesn’t mean nothing?)

Maybe that is the challenge: To give the little we can give in faith and in faithfulness. We might never see how God uses out little. But I believe that He will use it!