July 24, 2009
What Did You Do With What I Gave You?
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40 (NIV)
"How can I make sure she doesn't become self-absorbed as she grows up?" a young mother asked me as we munched warm chocolate-chip cookies.
Our culture struggles with the “I wants.” When children receive “things without strings” they begin a life of self-centered discontentment. Adults, in an effort to find happiness, reach for whatever they don't have, thinking that thing must be what is missing. In the United States we often convince ourselves that our wants are really needs.
I had the privilege of joining my Proverbs 31 Ministries sisters on a trip to Ecuador to visit the Compassion International projects. We came face-to-face with real poverty, real needs and real happiness. Many moments will remain etched in my memory, but two stand out as a glaring disparity to life as we know it.
First, we visited a family with three children who live in a block home, tin roof, dirt floors and have only one bed. I asked the parents if they could have just one thing what would it be. They thought about it, discussed it, then said, "We have everything we need."
Wow! Are there many in the U.S. who would say that? Furthermore, I wonder if the response in this country would be, "Only one thing?" They have the love of their family and more importantly the love of a God who fills their desires.
Second, I met Jonathan, a college student from a family of eight who is a Compassion International sponsored child. He is studying to become a math teacher. When asked why he chose that path he said, "The boys in my village drop out of school when they become freshmen so they can work and help support the family. I want them to know that if they continue on and learn math it can open many more doors in their work life. I also know that one day I will stand before God and He will ask me, 'What did you do with what I gave you?' I want to help change the reality in my own world."
Wow! This young man has been given an opportunity for a different life and now he gives back.
So, back to my conversation with my friend as we were eating cookies. My answer to this young mother was, “Go on mission trips, help the needy, sponsor a child and serve others.” When we serve, the focus shifts from self to selfless. It is only then that the resemblance of Christ can be seen in our reflection.
How will we answer the question, "What did you do with what I gave you?"
Dear Lord, we are so blessed and yet we often live with impoverished hearts. Fill us with the Spirit that encourages us to go, to serve and to bind up the brokenhearted. Empty us of self so Your reflection can shine to others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Too Small to Ignore: Why the Least of These Matters Most by Dr. Wess Stafford
Give up eating one meal out a month and prayerfully consider sponsoring a child in need through Compassion International.
What self-centered thing occupies my time?
How can I increase my efforts of serving others?
Who around me needs God's love to flow through me and onto them?
Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (NIV)
Mark 12:30-31, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." (NIV)
© 2009 by Luann Prater. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Originally published Friday, 24 July 2009.