Compassion wants to spread the word about their campaign to raise $20,000 this Christmas season.
I can't sell anything, and I have to work up a lot of nerve to ask for a favor. I'm not trying to do either. But I am passionate about the act of giving and about the work that Compassion and other organizations like them do. So I'm asking you to read with an open mind, pray about it, and respond as you are led with joy.
1. A fiction children's story that I heard on the radio about a year ago sums it up well. A boy recounted the story he had heard to a doubtful older man:
A church in South America had acted on faith to build, but needed to borrow money to start. The day came that the money was due, but the pastor did not have it, and he was facing serious jail time as the penalty. Miraculously, a missionary happened to visit that church on the very same day, and happened to have the money needed to pay off the loan.
The man responded to the story: That isn't very wise to walk around in the jungle with thousands of dollars in your pocket.
The boy replied: The amount due was $50.
If I could take you to the villages and homes of those that benefit from Compassion, and if we were standing there and you knew that you could change someone's life with the money in your pocket, you would do it. And you can do it.
2. This is a true story from Hero Tales by Dave and Nita Jackson.
Abigail Townsend was a friend of the Muller family. She was a little girl that had grown to like George Muller, a pastor who had started an orphange in Bristol, England in 1836. George believed that he did not need to ask for anything, but trusted that God would supply all of his needs.
One morning, Muller took Abbie by the hand and said, "Come see what our Father in heaven will do for us today."
He led her into the long dining room, where bowls and cups were on the table, but there was no food. But the orphan children were standing behind their seats, respectfully waiting for breakfast to begin.
"Children," said Muller, "it will soon be time for school, so let's pray. Dear Father, we thank you for what you are going to give us to eat."
Just then a knock sounded at the door, and there stood the local baker. "Mr. Muller," he said, "I couldn't sleep last night. Somehow I felt you didn't have bread for breakfast, and the Lord wanted me to send you some. So I got up and two o'clock and baked some fresh bread for you."
Muller thanked the baker and praised God for His care. "Children," he said, "we not only have bread to eat, but God has given us the rare treat of fresh bread."
Right away there came a second knock at the door. This time it was the milkman, who announced that his cart had broken down outside the orphanage. "I must empty my wagon before I can repair it. Could the children use my cans of fresh milk?"
There, before her very eyes, little Abbie saw God provide fresh bread and milk for the children.
"I wish God would answer my prayers like He does yours, Mr. Muller," said Abigail.
"Oh, He will," said George Muller. "All you have to do is ask Him. Now, what is it that you want?"
"Some wool yarn," said Abbie, grinning.
"Well, let's pray, then." And Muller helped her to say a short prayer.
Some time later, Abbie came running back to Muller. "I want to pray again," she said.
"God heard you the first time, child." You don't need to pester Him."
"But I forgot to tell Him what color I want," said Abbie.
Taking her up on his knee, he said, " You are right, you should tell God exactly what you want."
"Please, God, " prayed Abbie, "send mixed colors." Then she jumped down and ran to play.
The next morning, a package arrived for Abigail. Her Sunday school teacher had forgotten her birthday and sent a late gift... of mixed colors of yarn!
You don't need a large savings in order to give. You give, God provides. In giving, you let go of your own resources and power, and you allow God to be the provider. This is the begining of a very exciting adventure, because God's resources are vastly greater than any one person's.
3. A reoccurring theme in my daily spiritual learning recently is that I don't have the be doing something huge in order to be doing something important. What is important is to do my best at whatever God has placed before me at that time. It could be the daily routines: going to work, doing the dishes, paying to bills, etc. It could be stopping to talk to an elderly person in the grocery store. I may be worshiping at church. You don't have to be on a billion committees or fostering special needs children or adopting from the other side of the world (but if you are, bless you a million times!) If folding laundry is the thing which is set before you, do your best and that is the most important thing you could do at that time. Anything else is nowhere near as valuable.
If you feel a tug at your heart right now, maybe that important thing is to take a few minutes to give a little money to make a big difference.... the one thing set before you at this moment.
4. If you are reading this in America, the very place from where I write, we are in the middle of a spending frenzy. Five days till Christmas and we have or are spending on gifts, parties, candy, ugly sweaters, and traveling. We spend a lot of money at Christmas. I don't know the numbers, but it's a lot. We give our kids gifts that they don't need - they might not even want after a week of owning them. We, (as a whole- not you, unless it is you) don't know how not to consume. Millions of dollars every year are spent on Halloween candy and plastic Easter eggs because we think that we have to. (I'm really not trying to make anyone feel guilty here, this is simply something that gets my fingers typing rapidly)
The fact is that many times more of the children that are waking up to a pile of gifts and wearing new Christmas clothes for exactly four Sundays and one Christmas Eve program, are the children that go on living as usual. Maybe they have not heard of Christmas, or maybe they have heard of it but have not witnessed one string of tinsel to signify that this is Christmas time. Some are even literally slaving over cocoa beans that make up the chocolate you are eating, and they have never had a bite of chocolate in their lives.
We have it good. After a wave of big expenses, I have less money in my account than I have in years, and I still have it good. Money given to buy gifts from the Compassion catalog give a different gift: a gift of change, a gift of hope. Gifts like food and water, learning a profession, livestock for income, or mosquito nets. These are gifts that are not taken for granted.
Giving through Compassion is a chance to really make a difference. It will put a smile on someone's face for more than two seconds. We've spent a whole lot more on things that matter a whole lot less.
5. It is more blessed to give than to receive. Do you want to do something for yourself? Give. Are you sad? Give. Depressed? Scared? Give.
Your heart will be filled with joy unspeakable.
6. They are people. They have emotions, they get hurt, they look at their children and long to give them something better. Recently, Compassion challenged sponsors to pray for their children. One of the requests was that the sponsored children would be generous with what they were blessed with. That is what I want for my own children! Yes! We don't just want them to take, we want them to thrive. We want them to know God has made them for a special purpose, God has placed them in the care of Compassion, has given them opportunities to grow physically, mentally, and spiritually for a purpose! As I pray with my children at night, my biggest burden is to bring them up to know why they are here at this time, and that they would fulfill their reason for being. This requires health and safety, teaching and opportunity; the freedom to thrive. Oh, that Si (my sponsored child) would have the same blessings as my own children to fulfull his purpose, along with other children and families touched by Compassion.
People investing in people makes for a better world.
Here is the deal: I have been challenged to raise $100 through my blog. Now, I don't have a big following and I don't advertize or do giveaways to motivate, but I figure that at the least four people could give $25.
This is not, by any means the only amount avaliable. Please give what you feel led to give. I would appreciate it if you respond and let me know by commenting (annonomys if you prefer) or by e-mail. Also, if you would share my blog or the link to the catalog to let other's know, what a blessing that would be. Let's do this.