The Grace of Giving

When things are going well, we all tend to become a little forgetful about being thankful. It’s easy to not be thankful over the little or mundane mercies that surround us every day. One of our recent graduates was publicly thanking God that he was privileged to go buy diapers for his daughter. Such an act does not seem significant except that a year ago his wife and children had left this area forever to head to Texas to start a new life. They left him behind with all the bad memories. He had never been a good husband or father. But, after a year of recovery and demonstrated faithfulness to his God and his family, they decided to move back to Visalia and to welcome him back into the family. Such are the mercies of God. Buying diapers was the first husbandly and fatherly thing he had ever done. For mundane mercies, context is everything. Recently, Macy’s in Visalia donated $5,000.00 to VRM to replace worn mattresses. It was a gracious and generous gift, and deeply appreciated by both the staff and board of VRM but perhaps, not immediately appreciated by the people sleeping on the brand-new mattress this evening! They are looking for relief from the cold; not wondering how the mattresses came to be at the shelter.  Yet it is these quiet and common generous mercies that should elicit our most profound thanks. Giving thanks is evidence that a work of grace has been done in the life of a person. Gracious people are thankful people. 


After a hard 40-year journey in the wilderness, Moses reminded the people in Deuteronomy 8:17-18 “Beware, lest you say in your heart, my power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth. You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He that gives you the power to make wealth!” After the long and painful journey, success and comfort were finally at hand. They and we are reminded to not take such things for granted. Gracious people do well to remember this admonition if they want to remain gracious. If we want to be grace-filled and gracious people, thanksgiving is a necessity.


This Thanksgiving season will be a bit different at VRM. In the past we’ve hosted a community meal in our community center for everyone to come and have thanksgiving dinner with us. Because Visalia is such a generous and gracious community, other organizations beside VRM are also now serving a community Thanksgiving meal. During this season there has been such an overflowing of generosity that it is possible in Visalia for someone to attend two or three Thanksgiving meals on the same day!


For this year, we decided to narrow our scope and focus on the immediate needs of our residents and overnight guests. This year we will be having an intimate Thanksgiving dinner in our community kitchen instead of a larger community meal in our community center.  This Thanksgiving celebration will focus on the needs of those who do not have a family or opportunity to attend any of the other community celebrations. There will still be opportunity for donations of food or opportunities to serve but it will be during our regular mealtimes. We love the fact that so many in our community come to VRM to serve Thanksgiving meal every year, but it will look a bit different this year. If you wish to volunteer, please be sure to contact D’Ann Reimer, our Director of Volunteers, for opportunities to serve.


Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Season!


Al Oliver