Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Take, Make and Donate

FRANKFORT, Ind. — Do only bad things come in threes? Good things come in threes, also.It is the day after Thanksgiving and less than a month before Christmas, two of the happiest holidays on the American calendar, as you read this.

As I write, I am sitting in the back of a funeral home in Frankfort, Ind. This is the second funeral visitation for a family member we have made in a couple weeks.

I retreated to a corner far from the crowd after I felt claustrophobia that is unique to a crowd of people. I can be reasonably content in elevators, old-fashioned telephone booths, a railroad restroom or with a cardboard box on my head; but I have trouble with too many people in too small a space. No wonder our son doesn’t like crowds, either.

Anyway, not only have two members of my father-in-law’s family died recently, but my mother-in-law slipped on fallen leaves and sprained her ankle and wrist.

I thought about John Thomas a few minutes ago. He was a funeral home director in Waynetown, Ind., for years and years before retirement.

John confirmed an old wives’ tale for me years ago.

“Whenever we get a body from one town, I can be sure there will be two more shortly,” he said.

I grabbed my Bible tightly when he said that. We were on the road, riding in his hearse, from the funeral home to a graveside service in the little community where I ministered. So, we often hear bad things come in threes.

Do good things? Of course.

On a whimsical note, what about that great triple play during a world series I’ve heard about so often. You know - “Medgar to Evers to Chance,” or whatever it was. And, more seriously, the Bible says God is three in one, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I tried to think of other examples of good coming in threes, but came up dry. Then I turned to my old Thompson Chain Reference Bible.

The editor came through for me again, as he has so many times in the past. Mr. Thompson found scriptures that support what he called “The Three-fold Duty of Life”. It is taking, making and donating, or taking, making and sharing, if you choose. I’ll not go into the scripture verses, but I think he has something there. We have to take material before we can make something good to donate (share) with others. That’s what Thanksgiving and, to a certain extent, Christmas are about, isn’t it?

The Indians and Pilgrims took vegetables from the earth to make a thanksgiving dinner to share with one another, didn’t they?

When you get home from the busiest shopping day of the year today, when your feet are tired and you are cranky from the press of the crowds, try to remember Mr. Thompson’s formula: The three-fold duty of life is to take, make and donate.

Frank Phillips is The Times managing editor. He can be reached at the office, 446-2216, or by e-mail: