Missouri Jaycees December 2018 Devotional

December 3, 2018

Giving thanks in the Christmas Season.

“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.” – Maya Angelou

I have found many reasons to give thanks this holiday season. Over the course of the last ten months I have supported my mother in her fight against kidney failure, with various surgeries each having minor complications of their own, leading to a good outcome. Now, as her dialysis nurse, I am cleaning her blood at home until she can get a kidney in Missouri. All of this to say, we have various people in our lives who are ready and willing to support us in our time of need when called upon. The question I pose to you is simply this; are you the giver or are you the recipient?

I’ve devoted my life to faith and family, that is just how God created me. With each relationship, an opportunity is always present to be a source of empathy and kindness to others. In my year as a member of the Jaycees, I have found an enormous responsibility in living my life both inside and outside of the club by the statutes of our Creed. As we enter into the holidays of Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa, it is a time where we can gather together with loved ones and strangers alike to be the change we hope for in humanity. Are you the giver or are you the recipient?

As Jaycees we use our skills and human personalities to improve communities through financial assistance and through economic development. It is my hope in 2019 that our Missouri Chapters will take a second look at their programs and possibly make room for business training and education. On my recent trip to Seattle, Washington I had the opportunity to take a tour of a WeWork building. If you are not familiar with WeWork, it is like communal office space for rent for internet startup businesses and collaborations. It was a hive of all kinds of age groups working together and sharing space to develop their own business enterprise while making new friends and sharing ideas to help each other succeed at life. One group of men wrote articles for a daily business newsletter called Morning Brew. It’s finance and economics in simple, trendy language that anyone could understand. I subscribed on the spot and within a few weeks I have a whole new understanding of finance and small business startups in America. To get your copy of Morning Brew simply click here ( morningbrew.com/?kid=f54810 ).

I love the idea of people from diverse backgrounds working together for mutual cooperation. The idea that people from all over can collaborate to make lives better. As Jaycees we work hard every year to make lives just a little bit better for the common good. None of this could be possible without the spirit of love and thanksgiving that this season reminds us of. As we are, we are capable of great pain and suffering in the world and our own relationships, but this season reminds us of all that would could be. The hope that is within us all to do good and be kind. As Jaycees, we can collaborate and work together using our various skills to learn more and increase. Are you the giver or are you the recipient?

Which ever you are, our personalities help guide is us our attitudes toward others. It is our choice to be a giver, just as it is our choice to choose joy in any circumstance we find ourselves in. We are the change we want to see in the world.

I encourage all our Jaycee family members to set aside any muddy issues we have been forced to deal with that comes from living in the modern world, to instead embrace an old idea that was offered to us by mentors long gone. I’m talking of course about good will and kindness. Let’s extend good will and kindness together, and increase our collaboration and personal development in 2019 to make this new year so great, 2018 will be jealous.

Serving together,

John Paul Tomko, Chaplain

Recommended reading: ‘The Book of Joy’ by 14th Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu; Nobel Peace Prize Laureates His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have survived more than fifty years of exile and the soul-crushing violence of oppression. Despite their hardships—or, as they would say, because of them—they are two of the most joyful people on the planet.