November 24 - 30, 2003  




A Thankful Response to Abundance
We've come a long way since the Pilgrims, when settlers in the New World braced for the winter with tangible fear of starvation. If the harvest was not plentiful, if food put away unexpectly spoiled, if game and fish turned scarce -- any of these could mean death. In fact, many of the Pilgrims died in their first grueling New England winter. So a Thanksgiving feast for a good harvest made sense for them. Eat of the harvest bounty while it's fresh, before much of it is lost to spoilage. Stoke up the fat calories before the lean winter begins.
Nowadays most Americans -- those of us with good jobs and stable situations -- have just the opposite problem. Finding enough food is no longer a major concern, but obesity is.  Most of us actually have to work at not consuming too much. We count calories, go on Atkins or the South Beach Diet, work out at the gym, limit our sweets, and on and on -- and still our waistlines expand.
So does it still make sense to celebrate gratitude for our blessings by a day of total caloric overindulgence?
Across the nation, a lot of faithful people are finding a rewarding alternative -- by helping out at Thanksgiving dinners hosted for the very poor in their midst. (Gleanings has several reports.) And it's a group that is changing rapidly.
"We used to have a lot of singles, but we are now seeing a lot of families saying they are having a tough time making ends meet," Salvation Army Maj. Mary Hunt told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal. "Our numbers are up higher for the normal meal nights, and I'm anticipating Thanksgiving Day will be higher than previous years."
People who volunteer at Thanksgiving dinners or who help prepare baskets for families report that the work makes them truly grateful for the blessings they take for granted. Some parents bring their children along to teach them about giving and about gratitude.
It's a lesson we all need to be reminded of once in a while.
--Rob Blezard, Webmaster




New This Week, Nov. 24 - 30


INTRODUCING: Lutheran Laity Movement Archives.
Lutheran Laity Movement for Stewardship closed shop last spring, but its legacy lives on here. The Stewardship of Life Institute will host its library of online resources. SOLI will highlight one LLM resource every week, while adding to our LLM Archive.
 This week: The Three T's Reconsidered, by Robert A. Hoffman.
"Stewardship does not begin with giving, but with receiving. It does not begin with an action, but with an attitude; everything that I have has been given to me."


Give Thanks This Week -- And Always
When I was in India, I saw that the people had so much less and yet I heard so many more expressions of thanksgiving and praise for the God who they knew was taking care of them.
In Dana Reardon's weekly reflection



Article. Talking turkey about Thanksgiving: We need a gratitude adjustment. "There's a problem with Thanksgiving. Celebrating an "official" day--like we will on Thursday, Nov. 27--compartmentalizes gratitude. The truth is that gratitude is the right attitude every day." From The Lutheran magazine.


Put Your Assets to Work
"Nearly every great congregation plan seems that it does not have the resources in people to bring it to fruition -- but is that actually true? If people were actually turned loose to use their gifts, things might happen, and that requires management." StewardLife from the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod 


Entrusted with much.  "Just giving money is not enough if we are to be good and faithful stewards. ... Through our lifestyles the world may witness Godís loving character in action by our effective and proper use of talent, position, and power." From