As this is the month of December and our day of thanksgiving is now behind us, many around the world are beginning to focus on the holidays of gift giving. For many, but assuredly not all of us, the holiday of Thanksgiving included a BIG meal and a family gathering. It is a time honored tradition in the United States that dates back to our early colonial days, though it doesn’t necessarily line up with what our Anglo-Saxon based textbooks have taught concerning the day; for the truth behind the myths check out this from National Geographic:………………………………… https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/11/151121-first-thanksgiving-pilgrims-native-americans-wampanoag-saints-and-strangers/.
Now, I’m not here to beat up on the purveyors of our academic history texts, as there is still great significance to the day, especially given that it became officially recognized by President Abraham Lincoln, when he “established Thanksgiving as a national holiday during the Civil War” (Little, 2018). No, rather I’m here to simply bring light to the fact that we should always be aware of our blessings (the things in life that God has given especially to us); God is the giver of every good gift and he never changes (James 1:17). Now, many could ask, what do I have to be thankful for?
Well, there are many things. For example, if you are viewing this blog on your own computer/ laptop, you are in the top 26 percent in the United States (Statista, 2019). Also, according to the website Mapsoftheworrld.com the US is ranked number one with the most PC’s in use at 310.6 Million (2019). Furthermore, it is estimated that 68.7% of American households have access to the internet. The next closest country is China with 195.1 million, or about 63% of our total. The lowest ranking country according to their website is Italy with 44.7 million, or about 7% of our total. Now, I’d venture to say that if you have these things, then more than likely you also have clothes, shelter, food, and clean drinking water. But life is more than about stuff. Really it is more about the substance of life.
In an article on the topic of real wealth it was identified that there are ten areas that one should look at to truly define their status (Jones, 2017). Those ten in sequence from 1 (most important) to 10 (least important) are: Spiritual Life, Mental Health, Physical Health, Family Life, Service to Others, Friends/ Social Life, Career/ Business Life, Creative Flow, Income/ Cash Flow, Assets/ Net Worth.
So I’ve said all that to bring us to our blog topic for this month, which is Generosity. Generosity is a noun, and is defined as 1) a readiness or liberality in giving, or 2) a freedom from meanness or smallness of mind or character. (Dictionary). If you look around at our culture today, many operate in a state of selfishness or self-centeredness; where the mindset is “it’s all about me.” Moving in parallel to that group of people is another who wants everyone to believe they’re concerned about just about everything under the sun. Things such as the ecology, inequality, the rights of this group or that, etc., yet in fact they do it only for show or to get attention. For example, there are approximately 428,000 in the US foster care system available for adoption (Adoption Network, 2019). Yet, we have people, particularly famous and wealthy, who will adopt kids from other countries rather than looking out for those in our own nation. Not because they’re really concerned, but rather because they want to be seen as being trendy by adopting a Russian, African, or Chinese child. Many who do this this claim they did so, because there was less “red tape” to go through. Personally, I don’t buy it. It’s really more about look at me and the great thing I’ve done. And the people who do that are shallow with fake and fickle standards and values. They’re only involved when they can get some sort of glory or recognition. It should be noted that in 2007, US citizens completed nearly 20 thousand international adoptions, but that number has was cut in half to 9,319 in 2011 due to the international adoption laws becoming more restrictive (Adoption Network, 2019).
Honestly, there has always been very few true altruists; those who genuinely seek to make life better for others. Now I’m not saying that there are none, but what I am saying is that just as Jesus identified, a tree is known by its fruit (Luke 6: 43-45). Just as you won’t get apples from a banana tree or pecans from a dogwood, a truly altruistic person doesn’t cry out about how bad something claiming they’re all about doing something to changes it, such as climate change and then fly a private jet to a meeting or summit on the matter. Sadly, those who buy into this façade are being duped.
In closing this blog, which is the last for 2019, I simply want to say that generosity is truly a spiritual matter and one that is of the heart. The Scriptures tell us that we shouldn’t be concerned about storing up our treasures here on earth, where moths and rust destroy or thieves break in to steal, but rather that we should build them up in heaven (Matthew 6:19-20). The Scriptures also tell us that what we do for others is seen and rewarded by God (Proverbs 15:3; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; Matthew 25:40-45; and Hebrews 4:13) so keep this in mind and realize that there is more to the story; a bigger picture and it’s not as the world would lead you to believe that it’s “all about me.” May God bless you and may you have a joyous Christmas for Jesus is the greatest gift and He is the reason for the season.
References and Resources:
Adoption Network (2019). US Adaption statistics. Retrieved from https://adoption network.com/adoption-statistics. Retrieved on 27 November 2019.
Generosity (n.d.). Dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.dictionary.com/ browse/generosity. Retrieved on 27 November 2019.
Jones, C. (2017). How to really measure your wealth. Web Article. The Business Journals. Retrieved from https://www.bizjournals.com/bizjournals/how-to/growth-strategies/2017/07/how-to-really-measure-your-wealth.html. Retrieved on 27 November 2019.
Little, B. (2018). A few things you (probably) don’t know about Thanksgiving. Web Article. National Geographic Society. Retrieved from https://www.national geographic.com/news/2015/11/151121-first-thanksgiving-pilgrims-native-americans-wampanoag-saints-and-strangers/. Retrieved on 27 November 2019.
Maps of the World (2019). Statistics. Top Ten Countries with Highest number of PCs. Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.mapsofworld.com/world-top-ten/world-top-ten-personal-computers-users-map.html. Retrieved on 27 November 2019.
Statista (2019). Statistics. Laptop and Computers US Statistics Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/ statistics/756054/united-states-adults-desktop-laptop-ownership/. Retrieved on 27 November 2019.
The Holy Bible, New King James Version (1985). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc.