One day, a few years back, after a cold November morning run, I went over to check the Blessing Box at St. Jude Thaddeus parish in Burkburnett (as part of my daily habit). As I approached the Blessing Box close to the Parish Hall, I saw an elderly woman who was on a bicycle and was trying to get some stuff out of the box. She did not recognize me (since I was wearing a hoodie, jogging pants, and a pair of gloves). However, she greeted me and told me something that was full of compassion, “Young man, don’t worry! There’s still something left in here for you. Make sure you’ve something to eat.” She waved and rode her bicycle away.
That short, seemed-to-be insignificant, but grace-filled encounter was my 2020 Thanksgiving blessing! Even though she had little and was in need to get some food from our Blessing Box, she did not take everything — only what was needed — and was considerate of others, too. In the day and age where many of us do not think that we have enough, so many people keep wanting and desiring more, not happy with what they have in life, jealous of others, and pitying themselves, we have much to learn about gratitude and generosity from those who seem to have little. Instead of wanting more and never being satisfied with what we really have, we have much to learn about how to genuinely share the blessings we have received and be blessings for others.
We have heard in the Old Testament, especially through the Prophet Isaiah, that we are like clay in the Potter‘s hands. Nonetheless, at times, it seems like we want to be the potter and to form God as we would like for Him to be for us. We love to be in control and like to create a personal version of the Almighty as to serve our lifestyle, ideology, wants, and needs instead of allowing ourselves to be formed by Him and His divine will for each and every one of us. It takes a lot of self-abandonment, humility, and obedience to let go and allow God to form us instead of us trying to form Him.
We can all be blessings to one another. The gifts that God has given to each and every one of us are not for us to keep or benefit our very own selves, for they are His gifts entrusted to us for the greater good of this world and of others. We can overcome our own self-pities centeredness by recognizing that He loves us and has always provided and cared for us beyond our imagination. GOD IS FAITHFUL! He has always been faithful and loving toward us, even at times when we did not love Him or could not even love ourselves. He continued to pursue us, constantly empowering us to overcome our weaknesses and stubbornness with His loving grace, and never gives up on us even when we doubt our very own self-worth. God’s faithfulness invites us to reflect on our own faithfulness to Him, too! If He has been faithful to us and endowed us with many gifts and blessings beyond our imagination and comprehension, we are, then, called to live out this personal, intimate, self-giving, and faithful love in our everyday interaction, relationship, and service of one another.
In such a self-centered, selfish, and hopeless world, where many people only act, do things, present themselves, or be nice to others in order to win the hearts of others, gain some particular benefits, or show themselves in some idealistic ways, we are called to find and ground our hope in God’s faithfulness. His faithfulness is real because His love for us has been expressed throughout salvation history as well as in our very own personal lives. God’s loving faithfulness is the source of our hope because He will always give us what is needed to overcome what is in front of us. Even though we think that faith is somehow supposed to make all things better, faith is not there to make everything perfect and peaceful. Our faith empowers us to overcome our trials and hardships, for the roads are not always smooth and as we would have liked at times, because God will give us enough grace to embrace the challenging ups and downs of life. The Sacred Scriptures remind us that believers are not promised an easy and trialless life, but that His grace will be enough for us to overcome our trials and hardships.
Therefore, in order to truly see His blessings, we have to open our eyes to see Him as He is instead of what we would like for Him to be for us! We have to expand our horizons to truly see Him as He is, especially how He provides, cares for, and loves us in a very unpretentious, ordinary, and personal way. God is not out there to captivate, wow, and appeal to us in a flamboyant and showy kind of way. He cares for us in ways that are good for us, not only in the now or according to our timeline, expectation, or demand but for our ultimate and eternal good! Therefore, we are called to keep our eyes open to really see, receive, love, and embrace His gifts and blessings for us.
Our hope is in Him who has always been faithful in providing and loving us in real, personal, and unimaginable ways. Our faith in Him and its foundation in hope allows us to keep our eyes above the challenges and focused on what gives us life. Even when we could not see matters with our eyes and comprehend things with our feeble minds, our hope is firm because His love never failed! Our hope is real because we can recall what God has already done for us and for the world at large, even at times when we were in our darkest times in personal and world histories. Therefore, even though life continues to throw its challenges at us, we find the strength to move on. We all have gifts to share and things to bless one another, no matter how little or insignificant they might be seen by the world. If we recognize the gifts and blessings to be shared that come from God, we can always be considerate and mindful of others and their needs around us, too. Therefore, let us remember that we all have enough to share with one another from the gifts and blessings that He has bestowed on us.