Tag Archives: share

The First Day Is Over!

Share Your Gifts. Bring Light to the World.

The first day is over. It’s 11:54 p.m. at home. As we glide past Ireland it’s already morning. The flight attendant smiled and handed me breakfast. I haven’t actually slept yet. Sunday night, adrenalin kept me awake almost all night. This is going to be a tough transition. Oh well, everything else is great.

At the airport yesterday we talked with several “neat” people. At one point, Colin, a Trinidadian from Indianapolis, entertained the lot of us with his violin for over an hour. He wasn’t a busker. He was a happy youngish man who just loved to play his violin.  Of course, my Tom was drawn to the music. Before long he and Colin had become a musical duo as Tom sang along. They were two extroverts having a grand time.

While I worked away editing the first page of my book, Colin told Tom of his near death experience. He was working on an oil rig when it exploded. “They tell me I had no vital signs for 17 minutes. I’ve been on the ‘other side’.” He rolled up his sleeves to reveal heavy scarring on his arms. His hands, protected by his gloves, weren’t harmed by the flames.

“I learned two things,” he said. “I wasn’t going to work on the oil rigs anymore, regardless of the great pay and my dad’s objections.” Today, he makes his living using his precious hands to entertain folk in night clubs and casinos.

I’ve decided this was the moment I had been watching for. His obvious joy, along with Tom’s, brought smiles all around. They certainly added to the goodness of this world. I forgot to take a picture. I’ll do better tomorrow.

 

 

 

Why Bring Your Child to Church?

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“I know what I can do to help my classmate,” said five-year-old Indigo to her parents. They had read the school’s note about her classmate’s mother who was in a Toronto hospital, after being seriously hurt in a car accident. “I’ll ask my church family to help me. They like to help people and they don’t want people to be sad.” The following Sunday morning at Keene United Church, little Indigo took the microphone and confidently asked us to join her in raising money to help her classmate’s family with gas and parking for the endless trips to Toronto. That morning, Indigo collected $360 plus a mountain of prayer.

Of course, the Spirit of generosity in our church family is important, but I tell you this story for another reason. Today many parents invest money and time for their children’s participation in sports in order for them to learn teamwork, self-esteem, leadership skills and benefit from the physical exercise. Occasionally one of them is good enough to be drafted for the big leagues or earn a university scholarship.

Indigo’s mom brings her to church because she knows within her church family, Indigo will learn those same values and so much more. Already, Indigo knows when she hurts, her church family cares. Already at the age of five, Indigo knows she can depend on her church family to help her when she wants to help others. Already, Indigo has soaked in the knowledge that she is accepted as God’s precious child in her church home.

As the years go by, Indigo will more deeply understand the strength that comes from being welcomed and loved just as God created her. She will remember that she didn’t have to “make the team” at church. She’s been a part of the team from her very beginning. Through our teaching and example, Indigo will have gained confidence in God’s free gift of forgiveness, discovered the wisdom and comfort the Bible offers her and accepted the assurance that comes from knowing that she is never alone. God is with her always.

Why bring your child to church? The church family offers love, acceptance, assurance, strength, confidence – these are values all parents want for their children. We hope Indigo will cherish belonging to the Keene United Church family for a lifetime. The gift of faith in God is hers to enjoy for always. Already, she has learned a “way of life” that has empowered her to help others.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

 

Did you begrudge paying your income tax?

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Income tax time is over today for most of us. Did you begrudge paying your income tax? Many of us do.

This year, the day I was paying my taxes, I read the story of John F. Kennedy’s inaugural presidential speech. The quote, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country,” jarred my dissatisfaction. Kennedy’s words reminded me to let go of my complaining. Like many others, I can point out the places that I know or suspect our government is wasting our tax dollars. I, too, listen to the news as they cover the trial of Senator Duffy. It’s easy to see the mistakes, and what looks like dishonesty.

Still, as I think about Kennedy’s words, I am drawn to consider why we pay income tax. Almost every day I hop into my car and drive either downtown, or to Toronto, Lindsay or…  Somehow those highways have to be paid for. I turn on a tap, and there is clean water. I am able to pay my bills today because of the education I received as a youngster. If I’m sick or injured, I can go to the hospital without worrying about cost. I listen to the CBC. I love camping in provincial and national parks. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Most important is the fact that our tax dollars help to spread the wealth of this nation a little more evenly among our people. And there is so much more.

Of course, we have complaints. Still, I wouldn’t live in any other country. I want the infrastructure, the luxuries that are here. Yes, I am willing to pay my taxes even when it pinches. I want the security of employment insurance and Canada and Old Age Pensions. I’m willing to pay for the social and health security of all Canadian citizens. By myself, I could do little, but together with the rest of Canadians, I can do so much and I am grateful.

“All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.” (Acts 2:44-45)

 

Why Are We So Blessed?

Why Are We So Blessed?

by Janet Stobie

MMMM Delicious!
MMMM Delicious!

Our week visiting friends in Montreal was a culinary delight. We devoured sweet corn drenched in butter. We sliced luscious peaches onto Nancy’s amazing cheesecake. The warm weather invited us to walk each day, giving our bodies the blessing of exercise.

The evening Nancy and Richard received news of the birth of their new granddaughter, our conversation centered around the blessings in our lives. This brought the question, “Why are some of us blessed so extravagantly while others go hungry?

We know that there is enough food produced to feed the world if it were distributed evenly. We know that there is more than enough love available to build a world of peace if we choose to live it. I believe we are blessed to share.

The next day, our daughter called to tell us she had finally found the home of her dreams and at a reasonable price. Excited and happy, she asked, “Am I being greedy to want this?”

My response to her was the same – We are blessed to share.

In the Montreal Gazette, I read a story titled “Gardens of Goodwill.” Last year Susan and Domenic Argento started donating the surplus fresh produce from their garden to the Old Brewery Mission that feeds seven hundred homeless people per day. They put out a collection box so their neighbours could do the same. This year their backyard initiative has grown into a project that involves neighbours, businesses and farms around Montreal. The Argentos not only share their blessings, but they help others do the same.

We can share easily and simply. Whether it’s our time, our money, our things or our caring, the opportunities are as abundant as our blessings. I suggest that this week you open your mind to sharing. Search out your opportunities to use your abundance to fill someone else’s need. Join God’s plan for our world.

 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40)

 

Why Share Our Beautiful Country?

Hello Everyone,

First of all I do apologize for not including my email address when I asked you to contact me about your subscription. Thank you to those of you who knew my address and replied. I have now learned that since you had to subscribe to be on my list in the first place, you are already covered for the new anti-spam legislation. Also I cannot remove you from my subscription list. Therefore today I am sending out my reflection as usual to all of my subscribers. If you no longer wish to receive these reflections, please unsubscribe. If you have any questions please contact me using my new author’s email address:
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Why Share Our Beautiful Country

By Janet Stobie

Canadian Mosaic
Canadian Mosaic

We’ve just celebrated Canada Day. To my mind, we live in the best country in the world. Beginning with the wealth of beauty and resources that come with this vast land and ending with our people, with all our faults, we live in peace and harmony with one another. We are truly blessed.

This past spring, I helped our grandson with a school essay about the issue of immigration to our country. He had done research so that he could argue both for and against immigration from the perspective of experts in the field. His final section required his own opinion about our Canadian mosaic that is so proudly projected by our government.

Tim compared our country to that of a living ecosystem.  He talked of the necessity for variety, and the interdependent relationships that exist in order for the ecosystem to continue. His metaphor illustrated the tremendous treasure immigrants can be for our country. Then he spoke about how Canadians are blessed by giving people the opportunity to begin a new life in Canada. He gets it, I thought. My grandson understands the true value of hospitality, the true wonder of this beautiful country we call Canada.

With all our faults as a nation and as individuals, most Canadians know that our freedom and peace are gifts to be shared with the world. We complain about our taxes, even as we send our children off to school knowing we have an educational system that is accessible to all of our people. We wait in the hospital emergency room, knowing we’ll not have to mortgage our home to pay the bill. We choose to play golf on Sunday morning secure in the knowledge that others can worship as they choose without fear.

Today and every day I give thanks to God that I live in Canada. I believe this blessing is a gift to be shared not hoarded, for the Bible tells us that blessings rot and decay in storage.

 

Exodus 16

“And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed.Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.” However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. (Exodus 16:18-20

Can You Make A Difference

Can You Make A Difference?

by Janet Stobie

Refugee Camp
Refugee Camp

The news is full of misery. Because millions of people are displaced by the Syrian chaos, the United Nations is asking free nations to commit to accepting refugees, not by the tens and twenties, but by the thousands. Our world is on a direct path to destruction, and there is nothing we can do to stop it. Or is there?

Stone Soup

The last few weeks, I have been reading “Stone Soup for the World.” This book is a collection of stories about people, individuals who have stepped beyond the paralysis, the hopelessness of seeing the need of the entire world. For me, reading these stories is my first step in believing I can make a difference. Each day for a few minutes, my mind is focused on hope.

Two weeks ago, I was at North Bramalea United Church for the United Church’s Toronto Conference Annual Meeting. While talking with church members, I learned about the community program Bramalea United runs for children and adults in one of the nearby neighbourhoods. A colleague from Midland spoke of her congregation’s record of welcoming and settling refugees. “We’re only about four weeks away from getting yet another family,” she said, her face radiating delight and excitement. Their words and emotions took me beyond reading about others who are transforming our world, to seeing the possibilities and joy that come with taking action.

Some assure us that simply thinking positive things will draw good things into our lives. I know it takes more than that. I know also that filling my mind with stories of hope will open my heart to see hope in action and eventually lead to seeing my own action or lack of it.

A song says, “Go make a difference. We can make a difference in the world.” I want this song to be my mantra. I truly believe that we, together with God, can transform the world, one step at a time.

Together we create peace.
Together we create peace.

This week read Jonah’s story in the Old Testament. Jonah reluctantly brought God’s message to the people of Nineveh, and surprise! The Ninevites were transformed. Jonah made a difference.