COLUMN: Thank those who share the service of others

“What strikes me is how incredibly generous people are, especially in these times that are testing some.”

To whom much is given, much will be expected. If you’ve heard this line of wisdom, you know it means we are held accountable for our giving. If we have been blessed with talents, wealth, knowledge, time, etc., we are expected to share them for the benefit of others.

I recently had the opportunity to spend time with people sharing their time, talents and resources to help others. I attended the Rotary Club of St. Albert as they planned and talked about several fundraising efforts to help the many they serve. The next day, I was lucky enough to help unload a few cars as the generous people of St. Albert and volunteer drivers and helpers brought 86 pallets of food to the St. Albert Food Bank and Community Village. On Monday, T8N100Men and Tuesday, T8N100Women each held meetings to learn about six charities to donate money to. I know there are many more examples every day.

What strikes me is how incredibly generous people are, especially in these trying times. “Giving until it hurts” seems to exist – this attitude of gratitude is driven by a mindset of feeling blessed and grateful versus feeling victimized. People who could easily get help are quick to offer it. This gives us hope and optimism for the future.

I once heard the following: “As a woman and a man walked among the poor, the weak and the vulnerable, they could not help but wonder aloud how this good and loving God whose so many people are talking about could see this suffering and do nothing about it? After a long silence, they heard a voice and God said: “I did something, I sent you.

I couldn’t be more proud of the community we live in and the group of people who are our neighbors who are content to reach into their pockets or their pantries, show up to meetings or in work gloves and say, “I would like to participate in the service of others.” Thank you all.

Speaking of thanks, we’re heading into Thanksgiving weekend. Where does this tradition come from?

Thanksgiving traditions date back long before settlers arrived in North America, according to The First Nations of Turtle Island have traditions of giving thanks for surviving the winter and for receiving crops and game as a reward for their hard work. Later, in 1578, Martin Frobisher and his crew gave thanks at Frobisher Bay in what is now Nunavut. Forty-eight years later, on November 14, 1606, the inhabitants of New France organized huge thanksgiving celebrations between the local Mi’kmaq and the French. The Mi’kmaq introduced the French to cranberries, or as they called them, les petits pommes rouges (little red apples). Cranberries, rich in vitamin C, are known to help prevent scurvy, saving many lives.

In Alberta, we have a rich history of being grateful to be blessed with resources and the harvest, and we share them for the benefit of others. Who do you have to thank for sharing their gifts? A farmer, teacher, coach, parent, friend?

Having an attitude of gratitude and giving thanks costs little and is worth a fortune.

John Liston is a St. Albert resident active in our business and charitable communities.