Express your thanks to God by giving to others

Published 9:19 am Saturday, November 21, 2015

I recently read a story about two college students that shed new light on thanksgiving.

One day, an old man showed up at their back door.

They opened the door a few inches to see what he wanted.

He wore several days of silver stubble on his wrinkled face.

His eyes were glassy.

The college guys assumed he was trouble.

The old man carried a wicker basket with some vegetables most people would not eat.

He was trying to sell the vegetables, so the students bought a few of them out of pity and fear. Then they quickly closed the door.

The old man returned the next week, introduced himself, and told them he lived in the shack down the street. As they got to know the old man, they found out his glassy eyes were the result of cataracts, not drunkenness. He played Gospel songs for them on his harmonica.

During one visit, he was excited to tell them about a bag full of clothes and shoes someone left on his porch. “You know what’s even more wonderful?” he asked. “Just yesterday I met some people who could use them.”

Someone once said, “You get more than you give when you give more than you get.”

Winston Churchill put it this way, “We make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give.”

“Thanksgiving, to be truly Thanksgiving, is first thanks, then giving,” Judge Jacob Braude has written. He gave us a principle to live by.

Think about it.

Those of us who have plenty to eat, what if we expressed our thanks by giving canned food to a local food program that distributes groceries to those in need?

Have you been blessed financially?

“Adopt” a child from a family who cannot afford to give their family Christmas gifts this year.

Look for churches and community organizations, who assist families during this giving season of the year.

Give of your time. If you are healthy enough to do yard work, express your thanks by helping an elderly person by raking the leaves in their yard.

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who cannot pay you back,” according to John Bunyan, author of the classic book, Pilgrim’s Progress.

Express your thanks to people who have made an impact in your life by writing them a note. Those of us who have experienced a serious family illness know how comforting it is when someone says, “I’m praying for you.”

When you know of others in need of prayer, keep them in your prayers. The Apostle Paul said he did not “cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers” (Ephesians 1:16).

When we sit down with family and friends around the dinner table with turkey and all the trimmings, let’s remember to return thanks to God for our blessings and express our thanks to Him by finding ways to give to others.

– Jan White is an award-winning columnist. She can be reached at