Last week was Thanksgiving Day followed immediately (and sometimes on the same day) by that “hallowed” day called Black Friday. This day is more important to many Americans than Thanksgiving itself. It’s one thing to be thankful for all our blessings but it’s quite another to be able to increase our bounty at a discount.

Last week was Thanksgiving Day followed immediately (and sometimes on the same day) by that “hallowed” day called Black Friday.  This day is more important to many Americans than Thanksgiving itself. It’s one thing to be thankful for all our blessings but it’s quite another to be able to increase our bounty at a discount.
If you can’t detect it, I’m being just a little sarcastic about Black Friday.  You don’t catch me anywhere near Walmart or any other chain retailers on the day after Thanksgiving.  I have family members and friends who love it and that’s not for me to judge.  But, I can assure you that you will not see one of them on the news pushing or fighting over that last big bargain.
There’s nothing wrong with trying to get the most value out of your money – that just makes sense.  But, for many on Black Friday it’s all about greed and worshipping material things.
I know very few people who don’t like nice “things” – that is just human.  And by nature most of us are greedy to a point.  But, Black Friday seems to pull out the worst in many people and is a showcase for what can happen when we place our faith in things we can “touch”.
The month between Thanksgiving and Christmas seems to bring out the worst in greed and the best in benevolence at the same time.  You will see people rushing around buying things and then giving money to one of the many charities that are operating during the holiday season.
But, how many times do people just donate a little change or a buck or two and call it good?  It makes them feel good that they have “given back” because they have donated an extra dollar at the register for a charitable cause or they have handed a “five” to a homeless person and told them God Bless.
These are great things but if that is all you do then you are missing out on the real meaning of giving and what we should be about in this life – serving others. And, since I mentioned it, how much thought do you give as to what is the real purpose of this life?
I remember long time Neosho educator, Dr. Roy Shaver, once made the comment that “public service was the rent you pay for the space you occupy (in this life).”  I was talking to him about that and he didn’t remember making that statement but I did and it sure stuck with me and I have tried to insure that my rent is paid in full and on time.

Not everyone is suited or even destined for public service.  If all of us were exactly the same then the world would be pretty boring and nothing would ever get done.  And, all of us are at different places in finances – some are better off and some are worse off than we are.

The point is that we are each called to do what we can when we can to serve others.  We may not be able to change the world but we can change a small part of the world around us.

Some people can give of their time while others can give of their money.  Some may not be able to do physical work but can lift up those that are able by prayer or some other type of service.  It’s pretty easy to come up with excuses as to why we can’t do something.  But, in reality, we are only limited in our capacity to serve others by our unwillingness to recognize what we can do.

But, service to others should not be limited to the holiday season.  I know that we are all busy with our lives but we shouldn’t just focus on helping others during the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas because we feel guilty about ignoring needs the other 11 months of the year.

So, this season, get off your butts and out of your ruts and look for ways you can help your community and your fellow travelers on this journey of life.  Giving can be as easy as sending a few dollars to or volunteering for one of the multitude of charities that help people in this area and around the world.  

If you truly can’t afford to send money or volunteer your time then pray for those that do. As I go around in my daily life I have many people who tell me that I have been in their prayers.  You don’t know how much that means to me and just how valuable it is.

For those of you who serve others – thank you.  For those who haven’t – it’s never too late to start.

Kevin Wilson writes a column for the Neosho Daily News.