Day 9: Plates

Welcome to Being Thankful for the Little Things, our annual November Thanksgiving family devotional series. This year, we’re focusing on being thankful for the little stuff, the things we often take for granted. Each devotional is meant to be read as a family. At the end of each devotional, you’ll find a journaling prompt (you can download a free journal cover and pages here) and an action step you can take to help out someone else. Thanks for joining us and be sure to share it with your friends via Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

Every night, I put four plates on the table, one for each of us. During dinner, we fill those plates with all sorts of food. Some nights, we have tacos. Some nights, we have pizza. Some nights, we have leftovers. But every night, I have something to fill those plates.

Today, I'm thankful for plates, not because my plates are extra cool, not because they do anything special, not because they're beautiful. I'm thankful for plates because every time I put a plate on the table, it's a reminder that God has provided food for our family to eat.

We often think that hunger is a problem for kids in countries that are far away from us. We see pictures of malnourished, hungry children on TV in places like Africa and Asia. The truth is, hunger is a problem in every country. There are probably kids not too far from where you live who don't get enough food to eat. Did you know that in 2011, there were 14.7 million kids in the United States living in homes where there isn't enough food to eat, according to the United States Department of Agriculture? That's a lot of hungry kids.

You know how you feel when you get hungry, that gnawing feeling you get in your tummy? Sometimes being hungry makes us crabby, and it can even make you not feel good. Now, imagine feeling like that all the time because your mom and dad don't have enough money to put food on the table every night. Your plates stay in the cabinet instead of getting piled high with food on the table. Imagine how difficult it would be to concentrate at school or to be good at a sport if you were hungry all the time.

That would be hard, wouldn't it? Do you know what God says we should do about people who don't have enough to eat? He says we should help them. He says that we should be His hands and feet and provide for them. In fact, God was so concerned about people who didn't have enough to eat that He told the Israelites they should intentionally leave grain in their fields for hungry people to harvest. Leviticus 23:22 says, "When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the LORD your God."

God cares about the hungry, and so should we. When you sit down to dinner tonight, take a minute to thank God for your empty plate. Be grateful that soon it will be piled high with food for you to eat. Then take some time this week to look into ways that you can help feed the hungry in your community.

Journal entry: Write down three foods that you are thankful for.

Action step: The next time you go to the grocery, buy some food for a local food pantry so you can help provide food for kids who don't have enough to eat.

Leanna Graham is the winner of the A Thankful Heart devotional. Congratulations, Leanna!