March 17, 2012

Compassion

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
 ~ Mark 10:21

The Gospels of the Bible are not identical, but three of the four contain this account. In Matthew 19:21 and again in Luke 18:22, they write about Jesus and his instruction to "Sell everything you have and give to the poor."

Ahem.

That's a pretty tall order.

I like my 'stuff.'

I know that this great big ol world is just a pit stop for what is really, a very short time. While my soul is trapped in this body playing human being I should be using my time to benefit and honor God. I know my stuff is just that and not important in the big scheme of things. I know that the real 'living' will begin with my death and the loss of everything I have. I know this.

But I still really like my stuff.

Give it all away!?!?
I'm weak. I admit it in a clear voice.
What else can I say?


I guess a better question is, "what else can I do?"
I admit I am not willing to give it all away but I Can do Something.
In fact, as a Christian, it is my duty to help others.

Those who give to the poor will lack nothing,
but those who close their eyes to them, receive many curses
      ~ Proverbs 28:27

I don't have to give it all away to help the hungry or the homeless or the lost or the needy. I just need to open my eyes to them. There is need everywhere in this world. There are food banks and shelters and charities who need supplies and volunteers. There are community groups and hot lines in need of compassionate people to lend a helping hand and a listening ear. There are lonely people right in your own church, in your community, who could use a smile.

Recently, our family was called to sponsor a child through an organization called Compassion. I can't express how excited I am to be able help 'our' new little girl and I can't wait to learn about her, her family and her life.

   *   *   *   

Last May I followed a number of Compassion bloggers. I read about their trip to the Philippines, their letters, the children they sponsor and I was inspired. The thought began to grow about sponsoring a child ourselves.

The conditions these children live in are heartbreaking. Our bountiful, plentiful, wonderful world has some serious problems with sharing and equal distribution.

You may wonder what 40 or 50 dollars a month can really do... but when your family income for the entire month is less than $75....  Well, 50 dollars is quite a raise.

Even still, deciding to sponsor didn't happen right away for us. My husband and I talked about it and we informed ourselves by reading a little more. When J. asked what I wanted for Christmas in December, I told him I wanted to sponsor a child. It may seem like a long time to decide and a pile of procrastination, but I take this seriously and I wanted to be sure our sponsorship would be for the long haul - that we would commit to the monthly sponsorship amount and commit more than just a payment every month. Sponsorship is about so much more than only the money.

Writing to your child is also so very very important and strongly encouraged. To let them know that they are important no matter where they are or how much they have. To let them know that someone cares about them because they are a child of God. And to remind them they are loved. These letters mean a great deal.

Besides regular sponsorship, Compassion also has sponsorship strictly for correspondence. There are times when a sponsored child does not receive letters from their sponsor. Perhaps they are sponsored by a business or corporation, or perhaps their sponsor does not like to write. These children are matched up with a correspondence sponsor who will write to the child instead. In this way, even those that cannot afford to send money can still make a great contribution to a child.

Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion

I urge you to consider sponsoring a child yourself through Compassion Canada or Compassion International in whatever way you are able. If you would like to know more about why the letters and sponsorship are so important, please see the following linked blogs/blog posts (some of the very ones that inspired me) and do some reading at the Compassion sites.

Compassion Philippines Blog Trip by Kat at Inspired to Action

The Delivery - a short story hosted by Michelle at Blogging from the Boonies

Lame Sponsors of the World Unite and
The Only Virus Worth Catching and
You Can't Make This Stuff Up by Lisa-Jo at the gypsy mama

One final thought. I read there is a 10% drop rate by sponsors.
Think about that.
10% of sponsors begin sponsorship and then stop.
Now I know for some of them, it is a sad financial necessity... but I wonder how many just get tired or bored of it and stop. And how must the child feel when this happens. Please be sure this is a commitment for you and not a novelty action before you decide to sponsor a child. If you don't feel you are willing to make a commitment at this time, consider other avenues of giving. Compassion has multiple projects that you can contribute to. Donations can be made for these projects and there are other ways to get involved. Take a look around the official Compassion sites for more information.

But as for me, I am poor and needy; 
 may the Lord think of me. 
You are my help and my deliverer;
 you are my God, do not delay
~ Psalm 40:17

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