Updated: Nov 3, 2021
Thanksgiving is right around the corner. In fact, it may actually beat the posting of this story. But is Thanksgiving only celebrated one day a year, or should it be celebrated continuously? We have much to celebrate, and our thanks to God should overflow every moment of every day.
One only needs to review the past year at both Barnitz and Mt. Zion, to see how we have been blessed. Think about how many people around us in our community have been touched by the events of our churches. We have had numerous opportunities to connect people to God’s love and to plant seeds of faith.
“He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.’” (Matthew 30:31-32, NIV)
After the Christmas holidays and most of the winter weather in early 2017, the Sportsman’s Banquet was held at Mt. Zion. With well over 250 people crowded into the church for dinner, inspirational entertainment and various vendors showing their hunting and outdoor wares, opportunities to connect people to the love of Christ abounded. Following the Sportsman’s Banquet, the Pot Pie Supper was held. One could come to Mt. Zion not only to get a good homemade meal but also to visit old friends and share in the joy of spreading God’s love into the community. The Basement Sale was next. It was a blessing to many people who needed clothing and household items to come to Mt. Zion and find items they needed. Easter followed close behind. The egg hunts at both Barnitz and Mt. Zion, as well as Easter services, welcomed everyone who wanted to come and share in the Good News that Christ is risen! Those events only got us to summer. With the children soon to be out of school and looking for something to do, hundreds more children and their parents and families flocked to the Fishing Derby at Barnitz. Everyone had a wonderful time while sharing God’s love. VBS rounded out the summer activities which was a combined effort by Barnitz and Mt. Zion to teach our children about our Lord and Savior. Add to that all the community outreach by the various Journey Groups and Missions Committee and the people they touched in our churches and community, love rippled from our churches like water flowing downstream.
In the fall, socks were collected to bless the homeless, school supplies collected to help the school children who had none, and various additional acts of kindness were quietly performed to help those who needed help. And who could forget Trunk or Treat when an estimated 400-500 trick-or-treaters visited our vehicles in search of some sweet treats and also found people from both Barnitz and Mt. Zion sharing the love of Jesus? The Turkey Supper was held at Barnitz as a labor of love to provide good food to hungry people through donations only, and all were blessed. Children around the world will be recipients of Shoeboxes which members of our churches lovingly packed and gifts are being brought for children from the United Methodist Children’s Home in Mechanicsburg who have little. Looking ahead to another Christmas holiday, plans are being made by both Barnitz and Mt. Zion to support school children and their families with Christmas gifts, food and additional necessities simply to love our neighbors and spread Jesus’ love.
If we even knew of all the acts of kindness which spread the love of Jesus to those around us – which we don’t – how would we ever count the number of people we touch??? Really, should we even try to count? We are taught by Jesus to spread the love of God to all nations acting as His disciples, and we are doing that as best we can. Even though we don’t travel across the world to show Jesus’ love to others, our gifts do. We most likely will never know all the recipients of our love, but we should – and will with Jesus’ help – continue none-the-less. Let’s be thankful not only for what God provides for us but also for the opportunities those blessings provide to touch others with His love.
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17, ESV)