Bishop Smith: This Thanksgiving choose to give

Every year around this time, Bahamians begin salivating over one thing: Thanksgiving dinner.

Who can blame them? The thought of indulging in peas ‘n’ rice, macaroni, ham, turkey, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce and all the other sides that are a must-have on Thanksgiving Day will likely leave one drooling.

While that’s perfectly reasonable meal to look forward to, according to Bishop Joseph Smith, this is also the perfect time to reflect on everything you should be thankful for and on ways you can give back.

Smith, senior pastor of Church of God on Independence Drive and national secretary of the Church of God Bahamas, said too many people have been taking things for granted.

“Last Sunday, I preached a sermon on the power of gratitude,” he said. “I shared that with them because there are so many people today who are not thankful. I shared with them the story of the 10 lepers that Jesus healed. Of the 10 of them, only one came back and said thanks. The other nine never came back.”

Smith noted that Jesus made the thankful Samaritan whole and expressed his disappointment that the remaining nine did not show gratitude.

He said this parable teaches a lot about the power of gratitude and how it can bring favor over one’s life.

“Because of his (the thankful leper’s) thankfulness and because of his gratefulness, he was made whole,” Smith said. “No matter what we are going through, we have to be thankful. We have to remain grateful to God. We don’t know what tomorrow holds. We don’t know if we’re going to wake up tomorrow. We have to give thanks for today.

“Some families don’t even have a canned good in their cupboard and we have people who are ungrateful.

“We have to give God thanks for the little things in life,” he insisted.

While acknowledging that there is much strife in today’s world, Smith encouraged Bahamians to take time to reflect on everything that they are grateful for.

“As simple as waking up in the morning and saying, ‘Thank you Lord for your breath,’” he said.

“He didn’t have to wake us up.

“We have to be grateful and thankful that we woke up in the right frame of mind.

“We can go on a job. Some people are not working. Some people, they don’t have food in the cupboards.

“I was in a meeting last night and a lady said a lot of people come to church and they worship and praise, but they are hurting. Bahamians are a prideful set of people.”

Smith said being generous is equally important to showing gratitude.

“The word of God calls us to take care of people who don’t have it,” he said.

Smith said those who find themselves in a “place of plenty” should pay it forward.

“The thing is this, we forget how we got in the overflow season,” Smith said. “If you are in your overflow season, that means there was probably once a season of lack.

“When you get to that season, you need to start blessing someone who is less fortunate. The more you bless them, the more God is going to bless you.

“Reach out to someone and lend a helping hand.”

Smith said his church demonstrates this doctrine whenever possible.

He said on the weekends, his church provides dry goods and food vouchers to the elderly in the church and in the community.

This Sunday, Church of God Independence Drive will host a “Christmas in November” service. Smith said it will be a service of giving.

The church will provide gifts during the service ahead of the yuletide season. He encouraged members of the public to come out.

“We’re just trying to put smiles on people’s face,” he said.

“That’s important in ministry, leading by example.”

Smith said even if the only resource you have is time, give that to someone who needs it.

He noted that not all gifts cost money.

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