I want to take a moment of your time to brag a little bit about the people in my home state of Tennessee. First, I am not the first or the last that will make this observation, but none the less I feel that I need to make it. You see, this past week a devastating fire burned a good portion of Gatlinburg, TN and the National forest around it. At least seven people are confirmed dead in the fire, and thousands have lost everything, just a month before Christmas. Hundreds of homes, cabins, and businesses have been completely burned to the ground.
But Tennesseans are resilient people. Fire departments from at least and hour and a half drive all converged on the blaze, attempting to salvage as much as they could. Not only that, there has been zero reports of rioting or looting in the area. Instead, there are reports of generosity toward those who lost everything that is almost unfathomable. Food, clothing, and supply drives popped up all over the state, and generated so much that Sevier County, where Gatlinburg is located, had to ask that no new drives be started for the time being because they could not find anywhere else to store the donations.
Dolly Parton, who is originally from there, has made a very generous offer to any that lost everything. I will not go into detail here, but the figures she has offered simply amaze me. I have always been proud to be from East Tennessee, and the south. The response to this devastation, however, has only deepened that pride in where I am from. It is great to see people come together in a time of need, and do whatever they can to help one another out, instead of only looking out for themselves.
I have a theory as to why this has been the case during this tragedy, and I would like to share that with you today. East Tennessee is part of what is known as the “Bible Belt”, and while a lot of people in this country are trying to distance themselves from Christianity (that is a whole other article for another time), Christian-living seems to still be alive and well there. Even those that do not claim to follow Jesus, or the Bible seem to live by some of the principles found there.
Seeing what is taking place in Gatlinburg and the surrounding areas where this devastation has taken place reminds me of something that we can read in the book of Acts, chapter 2:44-45, which states; “44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.” They took care of one another, just like the people in Tennessee are taking care of one another right now.
We need to learn to look out for other people, and not just ourselves. May we all take this to heart, and seek to help one another when needs arise.
Thoughts From a Crosseyed Jesus Freak