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DEVOTIONAL GUIDE: Reflecting on community and the common good

Jesus calls us to a higher and better way to live, believing and practicing that what we have belongs to God and thus to the community.

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Rev. Bob Ford serves as a chaplain at CHI St. Joseph’s Health in Park Rapids. Robin Fish / Park Rapids Enterprise, Nov. 3, 2021

Perhaps you have heard the expression “it takes a village to raise a child.” I believe there is a lot of truth and wisdom in that saying.

It takes all of us working together, organizations pulling together, to raise healthy children. It takes community members to give of their time, experience and knowledge to make programs effective in guiding children to become responsible people and to discover their gifts and place in the world. This approach not only benefits the young, but the whole community.

The Thank Meal and the Christmas Dinner exemplify the community coming together to help the sponsoring organizations feed hundreds of people. It is a delight to watch people from so many different backgrounds working together for the common good.

For those of us who come from a faith tradition, it is hard to overlook Jesus’ identification with those in need. His life and teachings reflect a new way to live with each other, an answer to the prayer: “Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.”

Jesus says, “I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was alone and away from home and you invited me into your house. I was without clothes and you gave me something to wear. I was sick and you cared for me. I was in prison and you visited me” (Matthew 25:35-36).

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When there is a need, we are called to give what we have to those who need it. Jesus calls us to a higher and better way to live, believing and practicing that what we have belongs to God and thus to the community. It is for the common good, not just for ourselves.

There are mental obstacles to overcome that stop us from giving our resources, like time, talents, skills, knowledge and experience. Imagine if the hospital refused to treat you because your unhealthy choices brought you to the ER for the 20th time, or if the fire department refused to put out your house fire because you left a lit cigarette unattended or a candle burning. They rise to the occasion without a moment’s hesitation.

Our resources belong to the common good. Jesus goes on to say, “I tell you the truth, anything you did for even the least of these, you also did to me” (Matthew 25:40).

Our challenge is to get over ourselves, to move beyond ourselves, our biases, prejudices and opinions, and give what we have to those who are in need.

Related Topics: FAITH
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