A few years ago, my husband Clint and I were given the amazing privilege of a week-long vacation in Fiji through Clint’s work. While there, we had a very special opportunity to bring some school supplies to children at a local school in need. The children came to our resort to receive the gifts, riding in on a train and singing, no less! Many in our group were eating breakfast as the train pulled in. Those sweet kiddos piled out of the train so that we could take some pics. Then two children came to shake hands with the President of the company who provided this trip for us and then walked back to the train.
A few members from the company were able to go through a gate to get closer to the children. I had hopes of hugging on children, kneeling down next to them and talking with them, but it seemed my opportunity was slipping away…so I did what I had to do. I walked through that gate…”Come on Clint!” I don’t know if we were supposed to do this or not, but we did and no one stopped us!
These children were precious, beautiful, and so joyful! As we said goodbye, my heart felt so burdened. Something just didn’t sit right with me. There were nearly 400 people who won this trip. Do you know how many school supplies we donated? Two tables full. Two. I know the children were thankful. I know we helped them greatly, but two?
The children came and the children went. Most everyone just kept on eating. The president congratulated us for being so generous. We clapped and cheered for ourselves. We felt good about what we had done and then we went back to our breakfast.
Please hear my heart on this. Isn’t it true that so often we want to make a difference in the world without it really making a difference in our life style? We want to reach out but we don’t really want to reach in to the mess of other’s lives. We want to give but not so much that we actually feel it. We want to serve but on our own terms. Certainly not in a way that is hard or messy or uncomfortable.
When we do good, we give ourselves a hand and pat ourselves on the back and then we go back to the routine. We want to stay at arm’s length so that it doesn’t hurt so badly, and we definitely don’t want to risk affecting our kids in any negative way. That doesn’t feel safe at all. It’s just easier to stay at arm’s length. It’s more comfortable that way.
But I keep thinking…what if Christ took that approach with us? What if he didn’t want to reach out and touch me, in my sin and pride? What if I am just too needy or too much of an effort? It makes me shudder to think about life without Him.
Oh, how thankful I am that He said, “Jami, you are worth everything to me.” He says that about you too. And he says that about your neighbor. And the difficult child in your son’s class. He says that about the checkout lady in Walmart and the woman on welfare who finds herself pregnant again. He says that about you and me and He calls us to love others like He loves.
Will you do this? Will you be available to reach into someone else’s mess and love them like Jesus does? Not for the pat on the back, not for the applause but simply because JESUS did it for you first?
Maybe someone comes to mind…maybe not. If not, I’d love to talk with you. I serve with The Forgotten Initiative, which exists to connect you to people in need. There are so many ways to serve, as unique as you and I. We just need people who are willing.
Jami is the founder and Executive Director of The Forgotten Initiative. Jami and her husband, Clint, are parents to seven children: two biological daughters, two sons adopted internationally (Guatemala and Uganda) and a sibling set of three (two boys and a girl) adopted from foster care. Jami shared often on her blog, Life with a Personal God, during her family’s adoption and foster care journeys, and she is now sharing them here in hopes of being an encouragement to you!