Gratitude

BY CHANDLER CARRIKER

Dipali Pramanick lost her husband to tuberculosis. She keeps the LWR Quilt he received when he was a patient at Santi Tuberculosis Hopsital in Pailan, India as special reminder of him. Though her husband has now passed away, Dipali traveled back to the hospital to thank LWR.

Like so many of us, growing up I was often reminded to be thankful for what I had. There are so many others with less. This sense of gratitude, however, can often lead to complacency. Followers of Jesus should not be complacent, especially in the face of hunger and poverty. Because God has first loved us, because of the grace of Jesus on the cross, we are free to work so that all may be full and thankful. A powerful witness to this calling in my life is a woman I met through a story from International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), one of our partners in mission around the world that helps to get the Quilts and Kits that Lutherans so lovingly assemble into the hands of those in need. They shared with us the following story told to them by a priest in Jordan.

One of our most active church members — a woman who faithfully attends every mass, makes home visits to indigent Christian families and helps the church in reaching these poor — asked me to visit with her family late one evening. I thought she had a family problem. Upon arriving, I was shocked to see that she is poorer than the poor she visits to help. Her two children sleep on the floor atop a torn mattress with very light sheets covering their thin bodies. Her husband earns around $220 a month, not enough to meet their basic needs. Shyly she said to me, “I like the Kits and the Quilts you give to me to distribute to the poor families, and I ask you if I may have two Quilts and two Personal Care Kits for my children on Easter.” The following night, I carried two Quilts and two Personal Care Kits and two toothpaste packs with some food rations towards her home. She kissed my hand, asking me to thank IOCC and Lutheran World Relief for assisting her two children, five and seven years old. I went back home, thinking of how many people are deprived of the wealth that others enjoy, while seeing many dying in complete silence, not reaching the crumbs of the bread under the rich feet.

The life of this woman, so grateful of the little given to her that she would make home visits to those in need, is a powerful witness to me. It is a reminder that even in the face of scarcity in our own lives, God’s grace is enough to call us to stand up for the livelihoods of those around us. It is a reminder of the astounding depth of grace that only the Canaanite woman understood and caused Jesus to respond, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish,” (Matthew 15:28). It is a reminder to us all that we play an important role in God’s redemptive and restoring work that is happening right now! Let’s join together with gratitude in this work that we have been so gracefully given!

PRAYER

God of gratitude, who sets a table before us, we give thanks for the blessings you place in our lives. May our gratitude call us out into the world to serve those you love and bring healing to a broken world. In your son’s name, AMEN.

Chandler Carriker is LWR’s Congregational Resources Specialist