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Blessed to be a blessing

In just a few days, many of us will sit around a bountiful table loaded with many good things and ask one another, "What are you thankful for?"

Each year, this tradition and ritual gives us a moment to stop and to give thanks for how we have been blessed.

However, this year as we prepare to gather around the tables of abundance, I would like to challenge all of us to ask the question a little differently. I would invite us to ask each other, "What will you do in the next year to be a blessing to others?"

Asking that question, I hope, will call us to remember those that are not gathering around an abundant table on Thanksgiving or any other day in the year. Asking that question, I hope, will call us to remember those who have this year faced terrible tragedies in the form of typhoons, flooding, hurricanes -- the list goes on.

Asking that question, I hope, will call us to realize how blessed we truly are even if we are not driving the latest car, wearing the newest fashion or calling from the smartest phone.

This fall, we seem to have had an increase in phone calls for assistance. There seem to be more people needing just a little help to make ends meet. I met a mother who needed gas to be able to get to work, pick up her kids, just the everyday things of life. This morning, I got a phone call from a young man who was staying with a friend, but the friend was close to eviction so the young man was homeless. He tried living on the streets one night, but he said he couldn't do it. He already has one job and is now looking for another so he can afford a place to stay. The other day, in my office, a family of six sat needing laundry money. Another family frequently calls at the end of the month saying their pantry is empty. The need is so great, and we are the ones blessed to be a blessing.

So I ask you and I ask myself, "What will I/you do in the next year to be a blessing to others?" The need is great, and we have indeed been blessed in this community with much.

How will we share with others, so that all of us can gather around a table next year where there is enough for all people.

I give thanks to God for each and every one of you. I give thanks to God that we have been so blessed. May we share those blessings with others.

May you have a blessed Thanksgiving, and may you continue to be a blessing as you have been blessed.

Lesley Radius is pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Hays.