Psalm 100: A Psalm. For Giving Thanks.
1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. 2 Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. 3 Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
On this Thanksgiving week, I have been closely following the story of a homeless man in Atlanta, who found a woman’s wallet, while rummaging through a trash can for food. This homeless man said that returning the wallet to the rightful owner was the right thing to do. After the wallet was returned, the managing director of the hotel began searching the streets for the man in order to reward him for his act of honesty. Several days later, the homeless man was located and given a week’s stay in the hotel along with room service and $500. The honest man has also received many cards, letters and monetary gifts from people who have heard and read about his honesty. After watching an interview tonight on the local news, I must say that this man seems truly grateful and appreciative for the public outpouring of support and encouragement. He was quoted as saying that this experience has renewed his faith in mankind and he seems almost embarrassed at the attention that he has been given for doing what he considers the “right thing to do.”
I don’t know the entire story of this man’s life and I don’t really think that I need to. We all go through low points and challenging times in our lives, although most of us have never had to sleep outside in sub-freezing temperatures or search through a trash can for food. All of us know people who live comfortably but would lie, cheat, or steal without giving it a second thought. It never ceases to amaze me just how greedy and dishonest people can be over things that matter very little. This man has renewed MY faith in mankind by his kind and honest act and for that I am thankful.
This week, as I sit down to a Thanksgiving meal surrounded by family and loves ones, I am going to be more mindful of those who are cold, hungry, and in need of basic shelter and warm clothes. I am going to be more thankful for my family and friends as I think about those who so desperate yearn for some human interaction and compassion. And I am going to ask God to open up my heart and move me to give more attention to those in our community who are in need. Their needs extend beyond this one week of the year. Jesus demonstrated love and compassion to those in need and He calls us to do likewise.