Sweating non-stop for 8 days straight, surrounded by 30+ kids, many who have different diseases in the presence of absolute poverty, HUGE tarantulas crawling through our open windows and yet of all things, there was only one moment I can not get past while on a Missions trip to Haiti in 2012. One day after pouring concrete, in rebuilding an orphanage that had been destroyed by an earthquake, we came back to the place we were staying to eat the same food we would eat every day we were there. On the menu for the night were 3 of the smallest chicken legs I had ever seen with a pile of rice. For us, eating the same food over and over again is not exactly yummy. Even though surrounded by nothing but poverty, my selfish desire wanted anything but another skinny small chicken leg by day 7.
That was when I first encountered GRATEFUL BONES.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” - 1 Thessalonians 5:18
With Thanksgiving being this week, I cannot help but remember those grateful bones. Our group from Okolona Christian Church was being fed the same meals each night but what we didn’t realize was, we were being served their best meal each night. Although rice was a staple for everyday food, these chicken legs were the filet mignon of the village. We realized this when 4 of the orphans came down stairs when we are all finishing eating. These little girls came up to each of us and, speaking French Creole, asked the question that changed everything. “Èske nou ka gen zo ou a?” When we looked at the translator with us for what they were saying, she said, the little girls are asking,
“Can we have your bones?”
After we were finished begrudgingly eating this poor excuse for a chicken leg, all these little girls wanted was the left over chicken bone and its grisly fatty part of a chicken leg that we thought was not good to eat. Over the next hour we saw these little girls gnawing on these bones with the biggest smile on their face. For them, it was a great treat to have what we considered not worth eating.
These little girls had GRATEFUL BONES.
My goal in sharing this with you is not so you don’t enjoy stuffing yourself on Thanksgiving. My goal isn’t to make you feel bad that these little girls may not have anything but chicken bones tomorrow. But what I do want you to know is that if all these girls had tomorrow was a chicken bone, they would be so thankful. I know times can be tough and it’s hard to be thankful sometimes. But we all need to realize how grateful we should be in all circumstances. According to 1 Thessalonians 5:18, this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. So enjoy your incredible turkey and mashed potatoes but when you look at what’s left of those turkey bones that no one wants, remember those grateful bones and those grateful little girls. I know I will.
Let’s pray together
God, thank you. It is so hard to keep the reality of your blessings in perspective in this world of excess and heartache. But we don’t want to be ungrateful, we want to remember how overly blessed we are, even on our worst of days. We acknowledge your will is for us to give thanks in all circumstances through Christ Jesus. We choose to do that today. Thank you Jesus, in your name, Amen.