A Time for Everything

Thinking back to the Byrds (might have to look ‘em up if you’re under 50) and looking to Ecclesiastes 3, there is a season to everything and a time to every purpose under heaven.

A time to give birth—I recall the early days of our church’s Thanksgiving ministry at a church in an economically challenged Anaheim neighborhood.

A time to plant—The ministry moved to Maple School in Fullerton. We watched our congregation step into good works that He prepared for us in advance—a Bible Club, a tutoring ministry, Maple Evangelical Church—as a result of connections within the community that Jay Williams nurtured into relationship through the door opened by our Thanksgiving ministry. Five years ago, our church brought the ministry to Valencia Park Elementary, building over the next five years a wrap-around ministry to children and families through OC United.

A time to uproot what is planted—After years of “ministering to” those less fortunate, Jay led us to see the scriptural imbalance of that equation and we began “working with” our friends in South Fullerton and building relationships pointing toward the glory of God.

A time to throw away—When we finally recognized that our friends in South Fullerton weren’t really thrilled with mashed potatoes with gravy and stuffing (maybe the weight of the trash cans should have told us something?), we caught the clue and abandoned our traditions to serve chicken tacos, rice and Thanksgiving beans (seriously good!).

Then there was a “time” that doesn’t easily fit Ecclesiastes 3—the time that we saw a young man reach out to a homeless visitor. A visitor who was challenged socially and yet willingly and eagerly threw himself into the work of setting up and tearing down. The young man and his family invited him to their Thanksgiving dinner, celebrated the day with him, fed him, and clothed him. I remember thinking then that this gracious act better depicted an appropriate response to God’s gift than ALL the effort that went into our Thanksgiving meal.

Once again, it’s Thanksgiving season. This time it’s a season of change. With community changes at Maple School, this year we are going to focus entirely on the community surrounding Valencia Park Elementary and the ministry there.

Join us by filling a Love Box or volunteering to serve. Sign up on the plaza on Sunday or via the button below. You never know what “season” God might bring into your Thanksgiving this year!

—Jim Arnold

Sign up here to serve at Thanksgiving at Valencia Park


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