General CBF

A Thanksgiving reflection from the Church Benefits Board

By Gary Skeen

For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on. Mark 12:44, NRSV

A survey of IRS data from 2006 to 2012 revealed that during the recent recession, people who made more money actually gave less to charity than those who made less. The numbers were eye-opening for me.

An online article revealed that the lowest income earners, under $25,000 a year, increased their giving more than 16 percent, while those who made more than $200,000 a year actually reduced their giving by nearly 5 percent.

Gary Skeen

Gary Skeen

Read this article here if you want to see the numbers yourself. It reminded me of the parable about the poor widow who gave two copper coins as an offering. The Bible says that many rich people contributed large sums, but that the two coins the widow contributed together added up to one cent. Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those…”

I know the parable is familiar, but when I read the article about giving during the most recent recession, it was a confirmation to me that when the going gets tough, people’s true nature shines through. At times I am guilty of having a “me first” mentality, especially on money matters. But I was encouraged that generosity continues for many, regardless of how much, or little, they have to give.

Thanksgiving is a celebration of all the things we have been blessed with throughout the year and in reflection, throughout our lives. We all have much to be thankful for, not the least of which is to live in a country where even the most modest incomes rank among near the top worldwide.

Anyone who makes more than $37,000 a year is in the top 4 percent of the wealthiest people in the world. And if you’re blessed to make $49,000 or more, you’re in the top 1 percent worldwide.

In our busy lives now, if our car breaks down or if the plumbing in our house leaks, it can cause great inconvenience or even financial difficulties, but these are only problems of the wealthy. But there are people in the world who are consumed every day with shelter, transportation and where their next meal will come from.

We are all wealthier than we think. We are blessed to live in a prosperous country where most of us do not struggle with the basic needs to sustain life. In I Timothy 6:18, we learn that we are to “do good, to be rich in good works, generous and ready to share.”

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for those who are generous in their communities, share their table with others and whose ministry is reflected every day in simple acts of grace. From all of us at the Church Benefits Board, Happy Thanksgiving!

Gary Skeen is President of the Church Benefits Board, a ministry of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

One thought on “A Thanksgiving reflection from the Church Benefits Board


    What does the washing of water found in Ephesians 5:26 mean? Should you, as a believer in Christ, look to creed books and Bible commentaries for the answer to that question or should you look to translations of the Bible for truth? Do you want to trust men or do you want to trust God’s written word?

    Ephesians 5:25-26…just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, (NKJV)

    How did Christ sanctify and cleanse the church? The church is the body of Christ. The church is comprised of Christians. How did Christ sanctify and cleanse the church?

    Ephesians 5:26 to make her holy and clean, washed by baptismand God’s word;(The Living Bible- Paraphrased)

    Ephesians 5:26 that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, (KJV)

    Ephesians 5:26 in order to make her holy, cleaning her with the baptismal water by the Word. (Weymouth New testament)

    Ephesians 5:26 He did this to make her holy by washing her in a bath of water with the word. (Common English Bible)

    Ephesians 5:26 He made the church holy by the power of his word, and he made it pure by washing it with water.(Contemporary English Version)

    Ephesians 5:26 In order that he might sanctify it, purifying [it] by the washing of water by [the] word, (Darby Translation)

    Ephesians 5:26 He died to make the church holy. He used the telling of the Good News to make the church clean by washing it with water. (ERV-Easy-to-Read-Version)

    Ephesians 5:26 He did this to make the church holy by cleaning it,washing it using water along with the spoken words. (God’s Word Translation)

    Ephesians 5:26 He did this to dedicate the church to God by his word, after making it clean by washing it in water, (Good News Translation)

    Ephesians 5:26 He did this to make the church holy by cleansing it, washing it using water alone with the spoken words. (Names of God Bible)

    Ephesians 5:26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, (New American Standard Bible)

    Ephesians 5:26 He did that so that he might make the church people holy, when they were washed with water by God’s word. (World English N.T.)

    Do you really want leave the interpretation of Ephesians 5:26 to others,why would you not read it and believe what it says?

    Is God smart enough to guide men to accurately translate the Bible?

    Two choices: 1. Trust God’s written word, the BIBLE. or 2. Trust preachers, priests, pastors, Bible commentators, the man on the street, your friends and relatives or creed books, for the truth and nothing but the truth.

    Mark 16:16 “He who believes and is baptized will be saved….(NKJV)


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