Small Town, Big Hearts – Chapter event in Creighton, Nebraska, raised more than $16,000 for a girl in need.
As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” But for the residents of Creighton, Nebraska, it also takes a village to save one. Community members sprang into action when they heard about Kelsey Berglund, an 18-year-old girl with Hodgkin’s disease. The town of about 1,200 attracted 1,250 people to a fundraiser that ultimately brought in $16,500.
When Kelsey’s teachers heard about her situation, they decided to organize a bake sale. Zion Lutheran Church got involved, and the event grew to include a dinner and silent auction. Volunteers enlisted the help of the Antelope-Knox County Chapter of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, placed notices in church bulletins and contacted churches in surrounding towns.
Organizers hoped for a good turnout, but the final count was “mind-boggling,” says John Binger, communications director for the Antelope-Knox County Chapter. “There was a block-long line of people, and it just stayed that way until it was over.”
Through the Care Abounds in Communities® program, Thrivent Financial contributed $1,000 to the $15,500 raised as a result of the event. The family used the funds for travel expenses to and from the University of Nebraska Hospital in Omaha, where Kelsey continues to receive treatments.
And, Creighton residents haven’t stopped giving. Within a month of Kelsey’s fundraiser, they joined forces with Thrivent Financial to host another event for two young boys whose father died in a car accident. The community raised another $15,000. “We’re giving people,” Binger says. “In a small town, it seems like whenever there’s a chance for someone to help out, they do.”
Thank God it’s Monday! – Loving what you’re doing, no matter what season you’re in.
Most of us don’t want to be at work.
Studies show that more than half of Americans dislike their jobs. Twenty-five percent say they would quit tomorrow if they could still pay the bills. One big lottery win, and they’d be outta there.
It’s not just the nine-to-fivers. Individuals in other seasons of life seem equally adrift. More and more retirees say they’ve torn up enough golf courses and they’re ready to dry-dock the Winnebago. Stay-at-home parents feel stuck in a rut as the kids grow older. College seniors realize, to their dismay, they’ve prepared for careers that may pay well but aren’t very fulfilling.
In this land of opportunity, why do so many of us wake up each morning humming that old Peggy Lee tune, “Is That All There Is?”
Perhaps, no matter what stage we’re at in life, we have the wrong idea about work. We view it as a necessary evil whose purpose is to pay the bills, provide us with health insurance and help us prepare for retirement—when the fun is supposed to begin. Unfortunately, that secular viewpoint overlooks the fact that work—in all of its forms—is supposed to be fulfilling because we are using the wonderfully unique talents, abilities and passions with which God has equipped us.
Think about it . . . God has outfitted you for specific jobs for specific times in your life, whether you’re in your 20s or your 80s.
That’s where the concept of seasons comes in.
Americans often think of life as having three distinct phases. The first is preparation and porno education, usually our years in school. The second is what we consider prime time, when we’re in the workforce or raising the kids. And the third phase is retirement. Contrast that with the biblical concept of seasons, in which there is “a season for every activity under heaven” (Eccles. 3:1). In that context, we work for a lifetime, and the nature of our vocation changes over time—depending on our age, strength, abilities and passions—as God guides us toward new opportunities. There is no retirement, per se.
Unfortunately, too many of us learn this lesson later in life. I did. It took me almost a decade to gather up the courage to answer God’s call to write a book and hit the speaking circuit. That required leaving behind a successful corporate career, albeit one that had long since stopped providing fulfillment. God was calling me into a different season, but for too long I was focused on the corner office and the company’s retirement plan.
I’m not alone in that unwillingness to discern the change of seasons. Many others are equally reluctant to leave secure jobs or try something different in retirement and embark on the adventure God is calling them to. But those who embrace the call are incredibly fulfilled.
For example, a friend of mine was a successful project manager for a huge biotech firm. She’s also an exceptional cook. In fact, as God shifted her seasons, she realized she was being called away from monthly budget reports and into the kitchen. She resisted at first because the paycheck came regularly and provided abundantly. However, she finally heeded the call, and today she owns a small restaurant. She’s doing great business, and she found the fulfillment her previous vocation no longer provided.
It’s all about life’s seasons and our willingness to change along with them.
Stanley Horowitz once wrote, “Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.”
So, which season is God painting for you?
Ed Klodt is a popular speaker and the author of The Jonah Factor®: 13 Spiritual Steps to Finding the Job of a Lifetime (Augsburg Books, 2006). He and his wife, Lyn, have two children and two pups, and live in Southern California.