Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "O God Our Help In Ages Past"1 (Lyrics)
Many countries observe the eleventh day of the eleventh month, November, as Remembrance Day, Veterans Day, or Armistice Day, a time set aside to honour the sacrifices of the military, past and present. The eleventh hour was the time on that date in 1918 when an armistice was signed to end the First World War.
I was a child during the Second World War. Everybody was involved in helping to support our troops. People rolled bandages; we had food ration books; we children took rolled-up balls of aluminum foil to school; people grew their own produce in "Victory Gardens". Thankfully, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, we never experienced bombing, but we had air raid drills when we darkened all our windows. My father and sister were both involved in building aircraft at the de Havilland plant. She married an Air Force officer in a simple, short, white dress with a veil, considered patriotic as it saved fabric that could be used in the war effort. They went off to a station in the far north.
It was a time of selfless giving. Everything was to help the soldiers who were fighting to keep us safe. We all knew someone who received a telegram starting with, "We regret to inform you …", which meant that a family member would never return home.
As I pause for the two-minutes' silence at eleven a.m. on November eleventh and wear the poppy, I ask myself, "What about now?" How can we honour in a practical way those who gave their lives? There are many options for becoming givers ourselves: supporting food banks, giving to others in need, making a friendly phone call, offering help to a lonely person, volunteering and financially supporting charitable organizations, encouraging our churches to offer an outreach program to help those less advantaged in our society, or sponsoring refugees from war-torn Syria.
Proverbs 11:25 – Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. (ESV)
I believe that the Lord has built a spiritual law into the very fabric of the universe. As we give, we also receive — not from the same source or in the same way — but our needs will be met in ways that will surprise us.
So, as I wear my poppy this November, I remind myself that it's all about giving. The Lord wants us to be givers, and to experience the blessings that He is eager to share with each one of us.
2 Corinthians 8:13-15 – For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. As it is written, "Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack." (ESV)
Prayer: Lord, help us to turn our thoughts from our own needs to the needs of others, and become the generous, caring persons that You want us to be. Show us now an action that we can take to meet another's need. Amen.