“Nobody gets into heaven without a letter of reference from the poor.” Reverend James Forbes
We feel sure that a very big stack of letters of reference from the poor had already been received in heaven by the time Bob Hadley arrived there a few weeks ago.
Hadley, a long-time member of the Faith & Money Network’s Board of Directors illustrated what it means to be God’s hands and feet in the world by the way he lived his life.
The night before our board meetings, we have a simple dinner together and then each of us takes a turn sharing what is going on in our lives. One year Bob told us about a Hadley Thanksgiving tradition. Each year he and his wife would give their 3 adult children a check for several thousand dollars and tell them it was for them to give away before Christmas. For example, he suggested they could give the entire thing to a friend in need, or share it with one or more organizations serving the poor.
My husband and I were so impressed with the Hadley’s tradition that we started it in our family, giving our daughter, her husband and our two grandsons an amount that was more appropriate for junior high and high school students. We felt it was important for the boy’s parents to be included to make it a family event and asked them all to tell us on Christmas Eve how they had used their checks to make a difference in the world. They loved the idea, and it quickly became an important tradition for us too.
Years ago, a famous U.S. President, Theodore Roosevelt said, “Let us remember that, as much as has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.”
The fact the Thanksgiving holiday is the busiest travel period of the year for Americans going home to be with family is an indication of the importance of traditions as well as the beginning of this season of generosity for all of us.
As Thanksgiving approaches, let us remember the words of Rev. Forbes that “Nobody gets into heaven without a letter of reference from the poor,” and pay homage to our faith with our deeds and our financial gifts to benefit the poor.
Blessings on your efforts to be God’s hands and feet in the world,