We all sat around the tables upstairs at the Piggly Wiggly and shared what we were thankful for. It was the annual Thanksgiving breakfast for the Clinton Kiwanis Club. As each person shared, there was the usual themes of thankfulness for faith, family and friends. But there was another theme mentioned by several of the club members. They were thankful for the community in which they live, its moral fiber and character. As they spoke, I couldn’t help but agree.
A couple of days later I was back up at the farm in Clement in the northern part of the county, raking leaves and picking up pecans (and there are lots of them this year). As I was working, a couple of people from the community stopped by and visited. It was a good day to be back home, and be around good people.
The next day, while reading my devotion, I came across a verse in Psalms that echoed my feelings about where I am at in my life, and not just my physical location. David wrote in Psalm 16:7, “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance.”
“Pleasant places.” I think many of us take for granted where we live, here in Sampson County. This is especially true if you have lived here all of your life. We complain about not having access to all the conveniences and activities of larger, more metropolitan areas. But we fail to realize what we do have. We have a “good inheritance.”
Past generations have made Sampson County a good place to live. There may not be as much manufacturing as we would like. But agriculture has given us an overall stable economy. People have worked hard to develop agriculture through the years, and everyone in Sampson County, in one way or another, has benefited from it.
Through the years, educators and teachers, have given much to our schools and students. Coaches and volunteers have worked with young people, not only developing better athletes, but also building character. Elected and civic leaders have guided and led us to a more prosperous future.
Could things be better? Of course, they could. But they could be better everywhere. I noticed something interesting about a couple of the people at the breakfast who were giving thanks for this community. They weren’t originally from here. They see the positives that we have grown accustomed to, that we take for granted. They see a close knit community, people that care for each other, and want the best for others around them.
I understand that you may be reading this and be thinking that you are not in a “pleasant place” at the moment. You may be in one of those “night seasons” that David wrote about in the very next verse of the Psalm. Hopefully, your season won’t be too long.
One of the translations of Psalm 16:7 used the term “good heritage,” instead of “good inheritance.” I like that. An inheritance is something tangible that you receive. That’s nice and appreciated. But a heritage is made up of those intangible things you receive that makes you who you are. And who you are is ultimately much more important than what you have.
I have received a heritage from family, relatives and the people of this area. Family and friends are important. Look out for those less fortunate than you. Be involved with your community. Church is important. Education is important. Hard work never killed anyone. And so on. Hopefully, it has helped make me who I am.
We’ve all heard stories about people who have wasted great sums of money from an inheritance. We shake our heads and declare, “I would never do that!” But what about us? Don’t let us waste the inheritance we have received from others because we are in a “pleasant place” at this time. Don’t let us forget the heritage that has been passed down to us. And we should be passing down that inheritance and heritage to the next generation. If not, we all may end up experiencing a long “night season.”
Mac McPhail, raised in Sampson County, lives in Clinton and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.