Every since I was a child, I’ve been privileged to learn from a variety of god fearing, wise people who didn’t mind sharing their knowledge. The impartation of information frequently came from observing them in day to day life or from the songs they chose to sing during services. My grandmother and great aunts all had impeccable work ethic. She and Aunt Pauline always displayed a genuine and joyful heart to service. Even as my grandmother worked hard to raise 11 children as a single parent, she gave and I think she did it out of her own need.
Although I was raised in the church, I’m grateful that I had an opportunity to grow in my relationship with God as I moved about life. As I child I heard the older, COGIC saints at Holy Temple sing songs. Count Your Blessings is still one of my favorites. If you’re busy “counting” or being thankful for the the good things in your life you’ll be too busy to fester on the bad. When my family started attending Maranatha Faith Center, I began to understand spiritual gifts and using them for the kingdom of God. In addition to the pastor, I saw men such as Greg Virgil and Johnny Redding, both awesome musicians, composers and writers, use what they had for the church. Then when I moved to Georgia I started attending Atlanta Metropolitan Cathedral. Everything I learned as a child came full circle here. Bishop Johnson and Elder David always talked about giving out of your need and it wasn’t always about money. It was not until I attended Metro that I understood how my grandmother lived her life. She didn’t have much but she prayed, worked hard (faith without works is dead), and gave.
I guess I wrote all of this to say that I’m thankful for a solid foundation. My grandmother, mom and family gave me a great point of reference for life. They weren’t perfect but, most of the time, did what they thought was right. They were the physical example of service and working hard. I didn’t have to look to the television or media for role models. I had them in my family and at church.
Instead of complaining about my finances, problems at home or struggles at work, I’m strengthening my ability to give out of need. This month over at www.Snaps1000Words.com our editor challenged us to write about thankfulness, gratefulness or something Thanksgiving related. Below is my take on the challenge.
Snaps1000Words: Out of Need
One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Cassie’s heels clattered against the pavement as she walked down Peachtree, arguably one of Atlanta’s busiest streets. Every day, for the past eight months she made the trek to Grace Church’s food pantry. Although her mode of transportation had changed from car to feet, Cassie took pride in feeding Atlanta’s homeless and hungry population.
When she was asked to run the church’s food program after Mother Jones passed, Cassie didn’t know if she could handle procuring food items, managing meal prep, and overseeing dining for more than one-hundred people each night in addition to working as a paralegal. Not only did Cassie prove to be skillful in the role, she excelled. In less than sixty days, she developed a two-year partnership with an Atlanta-based chicken franchise for hot dinners two days a week and a five-year partnership with a big box retailer for dry goods and nonperishables. Everything else was donated by fellow parishioners and community members.
She knew the key to getting needs met was as simple as asking. That came easy for Cassie, who hated to see others lacking. It was nothing for her to use her relationships to help. Being the person to put meals on the table on behalf of her church gave Cassie an indescribable sense of gratification. Regrettably, she hadn’t quite figured out how to help herself. Read more …