LU president speaks at Chamber Prayer Breakfast

'If we give to others, it comes back to us'

 Speaking at the 34th annual Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce prayer breakfast, Lincoln University President Kevin Rome said: “We need to talk about the kindness that exists in the community so that everyone can appreciate it and participate, because everyone can give at a certain level."

Speaking at the 34th annual Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce prayer breakfast, Lincoln University President Kevin Rome said: “We need to talk about the kindness that exists in the community so that everyone can appreciate it and participate, because everyone can give at a certain level."

Lincoln University President Kevin Rome delivered a homily on the meaning of Thanksgiving at the 34th annual Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce prayer breakfast held Wednesday.

He cracked up the room when he told them he had a hard time earlier that day.

“I had to say ‘Help me, Jesus,’ when I got up this morning … 5:30 a.m. is early for me. I walked outside, and it was cold. And I said to my car, ‘We’re not in North Carolina anymore.’”

After lamenting the early hour and thanking his supporters, Rome asked people to see people who had have attended, graduated from or worked at LU. Nearly a third of the room stood up.

“I know Lincoln has a huge impact on this community. But this morning, I’m not going to talk about Lincoln. I have many other opportunities to talk about Lincoln,” he said.”I’d much rather share my thanks than anything else in the world. Because I am so grateful for everything that God has done for me.”

Instead he read biblical verses from 2nd Corinthians, Chapter 9 — words written by the Apostle Paul in which he talked about the importance of generous giving. “Paul has a great message and a great deal to say in that message,” Rome said.

Rome spoke briefly on Paul’s four points, noting:

• A person’s actions cause others to act.

• As one gives, he or she also receives.

• God loves a cheerful giver.

• Your generosity will result in Thanksgiving to God.

Speaking to his first point, Rome said we should never forget that “Someone is always watching us.”

“What we choose to do, or choose not to do, always influences others. When we choose to give, when we choose to be gracious, when we choose to share … we influence the gifts of others,” he said.”And what Paul was saying to the people … when you choose to give cheerfully, others will also choose to do so.”

Rome noted it’s a critical time of the year because so many are in need right now — something with which he is personally familiar.

“I grew up in what I would say was a poor household. We had the basics, but we didn’t have any extra. And so around the holidays, I was one of those families who would be the recipient of a turkey or food or other gifts. So I can really appreciate where I am, because of where I come from.”

He said he shares his own prosperity because he knows what it means to receive aid. And he added it’s important for his children to grow with a sense of benevolence.

Rome noted that Jefferson City is known as a particularly generous community. “We need to talk about the kindness that exists in the community so that everyone can appreciate it and participate, because everyone can give at a certain level,” he said.

He also noted that when people give to others, it comes back to them in many ways. “We reap, if we sow,” he said. “If we give to others, it comes back to us.”

Rome said God wants humans to give out of the generosity of their hearts — not for recognition or to receive in return. “That is why God loves a cheerful giver,” he said. “And when we give, it is pleasing to God’s sight.”

In his last point, Rome touched upon the meaning of Thanksgiving.

“What is Thanksgiving? Literally, what does it mean?” he asked rhetorically.

Superficially, he noted it’s a North American holiday in which people, historically, have thanked God for the harvest and for a new year.

“For me, it means ‘I can’t give thanks without giving. I can’t give without being thankful.’ So when I think about God, I say, ‘I thank you so much for what you’ve done for me.’ And because I thank you, I want to give,” he said “See, that’s Thanksgiving! So, If I’m thankful to God for what he’s done for me, then I give to others to show that I appreciate what God has done. If I am really thankful, then I give. If I don’t give, then I can’t be thankful.”

“And I know so many people in this community give thanks because they give so much,” he concluded.

Also at Wednesday’s prayer breakfast, Lisa Screeton, the new director of music at Immaculate Conception Parish, performed two selections. In her second song — “America the Beautiful” — she asked the audience to join her.

She noted a famous Metropolitan opera singer once encouraged her to really comprehend the text of a song before she performs it.

“We get caught up singing songs we know very well. We don’t think about the meaning of the words,” she added.

Co-sponsored by Missouri Farm Bureau in observance of National Farm-City Week, the prayer breakfast is also an opportunity to recognize the Cole County Extension Farm Family of the Year. Bill and Schellie Blockberger, and their daughters Mary and Erin, were this year’s recipients.

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