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December 2022: Empathy & Gratitude – Reflections from a Ministry Partner

Updated: Jan 13

We live in a culture that finds itself unstable. It seems that we have all contracted a collective vertigo. There appears to be no common civic ground upon which we can stand together and say this is true, and that is not. The reality is that few of us share common values, and fewer still share a solid foundation. Even in this collective confusion, however, some people and some organizations stand out as beacons of light – and continue to know who they are.

While going through an extended application process this past year with One Hundred Shares Birmingham (OHSB), I came to gratefully realize I had found a group that fully understood who they were and what foundation they stood upon. This foundation allows OHSB and others who trust in the truth of God’s word to embrace amazing opportunities, not so much to do what man considers “great things” necessarily– which people get too enamored with, but as Mother Teresa famously said, “to do small things with great love”.

I look daily for lessons to teach my kids, as I ponder what world they will inhabit 30 years from now. One lesson is telling them that two things seem to be absent culturally: 1) Empathy – or the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes; and (2) Gratitude – including a gratitude for those who have come before us. OHSB ignores neither of these, but rather gives us all a lesson in implementing them.

OHSB is a beautiful idea. It is at its core Christian and very American as well. It is a collection of believers tracking Paul’s admonition in Philippians to act not out of selfish conceit, but with humility, acting upon God’s desire that we consider others more important than ourselves. I say it is American, for the idea of private citizens pooling resources to help one another is written in our country’s historical DNA.

We are a generation engaged in a battle of ideas for how we can travel forward and together. I am thankful that OHSB exists for many reasons, but one is that they are part of this discussion through their actions rather than their words. They sacrificially give so that others in need may be acknowledged and comforted. I am grateful that by this example they softly remind us that it is the Father’s love that wrote this play, and His love working through the hands of his people will continue it to the next act.

Dalton Smith M-Power Ministries, Executive Director December, 2022

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