To Give, and to be Thankful

Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. -2 Corinthians 9:6

Dear members and friends of the Swedenborgian Church,

One of the core messages in the Bible is about giving and sharing what one has with others who are in need. As humans are born unequally and often into unfair conditions, abilities, or environments, claiming that my material success is due solely to my own efforts and work is not only silly, but untrue. One’s inherent ability and environment play a major role in predicting how much one can achieve in this world. At the same time, those who happen to be in a needy or difficult situation are not entirely at fault for their struggles. If we were to look at the big picture, there seems to be a reason why those who were born in all different ways and with different abilities are here with each other. Our focus should not be envying the worldly success of the rich or despising the neediness of the poor, but about understanding and accepting each other as who we are and who we happen to become.

The goal of our life has never been and never should be to gain wealth or simply become better than others, but to build a secure and prosperous community of people together. The undeniable truth is that we are in need of each other and all our diversity physically, mentally, and spiritually. It would be to our benefit to be honest about that and, further, to ask and invite others to acknowledge that truth as well. Thanksgiving is just around the corner followed by the coming Christmas or the Advent. Let us use this season as an opportunity to be honest to oneself about what one needs most essentially as a human being, and take an action to reach out to each other with understanding and acceptance. It has been proven for thousands of years that what satisfies a human mind truly and fully is neither gold, nor victory, nor fame, but loving and trusting relationships with other humans! And, love and trust are never made of gold or mere words, but built by fostering long, honest, and mutually-sharing and depending relationships.

Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee