Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and most Americans will gather around banquet tables thankful for the overabundance of blessings in their lives. Many of those will forget their sense of gratitude by the time the sun rises on “Black Friday” which is the known to be the busiest retail sales day of the entire year. Many will forget they haven’t always had what they have today. We are called to much more as Orthodox Christians.
In today’s reading from the Gospel of Luke (you can read the entire passage below) we hear the sort of sacrifice that is truly required of a Christian. As you gather around your table tomorrow, I invite you to consider, of all the blessings your are giving thanks for, which are you willing to leave behind to follow Christ?
Often, I hear the difference between a child and an adult is experience. Many people (all adults) belittle the innocence of children as a bad thing, almost as if human beings are supposed to be bitter and mistrusting. A child will leave even his favorite toy behind to follow the promise of never-ending, never changing love. Embittered adults will likely accuse the child of ignorance, claiming there is no such thing as never-ending love. A child understands the love of God is of greater value than any material blessing or earthly relationship we possess, and until we are willing to follow God with the innocence of a child, we will never experience eternal life.
A child will leave toys behind; what are you willing to leave behind?
At that time, they were bringing infants to Jesus that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it." Those who heard it said, "Then who can be saved?" But he said, "What is impossible with men is possible with God." And Peter said, "Lo, we have left our homes and followed you." And he said to them, "Truly, I say to you, there is no man who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive manifold more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life." (Luke 18:15-17, 26-30)