In just one week, the news media has invaded our homes with reports of suffering on an international scale. We’ve watched the ‘boat people’ migration: men, women and children packed into small ships. They are willing to risk their lives by crossing an ocean in order to escape persecution. Those who survive are not welcome when they come ashore. In the Middle East, brutal religious radicals conquer cities American men and women died to help liberate a few decades ago. Nearby, a war that never seems to end ravages Syria and threatens surrounding areas. In Nepal, an earthquake too big to imagine drowns whole villages in mud and shatters the fragile existence of thousands. We experience crisis fatigue. Hardly the stuff of bedtime stories!
We cannot help but notice children’s faces in all of these scenes. And we grieve. We take comfort, however, in knowing that many of those who suffer are followers of Jesus experiencing His welcome in Heaven. Many of those who make up rescue teams are believers, too. For not many dark pockets are left on this globe where some whisper of the Holy Spirit cannot be heard, however faintly.
Through all of this comes the Savior’s question, “So, what do you care?”
You may have made a poster last week, or placed information on your fridge to help your family members grow compassionate hearts for children at risk. If you spent some time interceding for them, I am grateful. And God, our Father, is pleased.
Here is an idea to add to the HURTS display with a plan for action: We can…
C all to our Father in Heaven by prayer ~
A sk others to help ~
R each out to someone close by while we ~
E xtend God’s love around the world.
In order to turn pity into compassion, we need to put ourselves in others’ shoes and do something to make a difference. God, our Father, calls on us to CARE! Don’t miss the opportunity to follow the advice contained in this acronym. Think of your family as a rescue team and let everyone come up with good ideas for action. You can record these in your family journal and track your progress to turn good intentions into good deeds. And, please don’t discount what even the youngest among you can contribute.
Here’s a true story to illustrate: Eli, a six year old missionary kid living in a city nearby to where I live, was impressed with some of the material his mother read to him. It was written by a well-known gentleman who mobilizes Christians for outreach efforts in his native India. Without prompting, Eli decided he would raise some money to bless families in India. He wanted to help provide chickens and other livestock to improve their lives. His interest expanded to well digging for safe drinking water.
He shared this with a woman in Trader Joe’s one morning who gave Eli a check for $50 for his efforts. This inspired him to enlist the help of adults in his family to write letters to people they knew, and soon his total had reached $300. Eventually, he funneled nearly $3,000 to ministries who turned the money into ‘good works’ done in the Name of Jesus. (This happened just recently.)
Of course you know where I’m going with this. “Father, send us more Eli’s!” Children can CARE! They can turn their energies into Spirit-led action to bless others. For most, the natural progression is to go from the near-at-hand, the familiar, outwards. And raising money doesn’t even have to be in the picture at all.
I believe that God wants each of us, no matter our age, to take seriously Jesus’ instructions that we seek God’s Kingdom first and let God take care of our needs. And – he desires that even the youngest among us turn to him with awe, worshiping him and gladly loving him back.
In closing, here’s my paraphrase of a familiar Bible verse: The confident, consistent prayer life of a godly family achieves great things to advance God’s Kingdom! James 5:16.