I got a letter from dear little Mohamadi in Burkina Faso this week. Since he is under age eight, his tutors help him fill out form letters to send to me. It goes something like this...
Favorite food: spaghetti
Favorite color: green
Favorite sport: soccer
Favorite Bible hero: Elijah
When I wrote him back, I wrote a portion of my letter in the same format.
Favorite food: fruit
Favorite color: pink
Favorite sport: Well, I skipped this one, because I'm pretty sure couch-warming isn't a sport.
Favorite Bible hero: Jesus.
Hands down, Jesus.
No other answer comes to my mind as I begin to answer the last question. I worry...is that just a Sunday School answer? Have I really thought this through?
What about Elijah?
But no one has done what Jesus did. When I first started reading the Bible, I knew Jesus was important...but He wasn't exactly friendly or personable. Maybe the "verilys" of the KJV had something to do with it. His stories were confusing, and He sometimes seemed harsh and cold. To be honest, I spent a long time avoiding the Gospels, preferring the warmth and humanity of Paul's teaching.
Well, it's fourteen years later, and while I still don't understand everything Jesus said, I get His heart...and His heart is incomprehensibly touched by humanity. Jesus didn't spend His whole life preaching, up in front of congregations. He spent His life one at a time, touching a hand, playing with a child, meeting a need. Jesus was never, ever, too busy for one.
He HAD to go to Samaria to meet one woman (John 4)
He HAD to turn back and find the woman who touched the hem of His robe.
He HAD to restore Peter, crushed by guilt, after His ressurrection (John 21).
He HAD to rendezvous with Paul on the road to Damascus.
I didn't get that when I first started reading the gospels, but I do now. Sometimes when I'm reading His words, I can almost see the smile on His face or the twinkle in His eye. When He stretches out a hand to say "Rise up and walk," I know there is pure delight in His voice. He was a man of great, passionate, all-consuming love...love for His Father which trickled down into love for us. I can't help but be in love with the man whose heart was moved with compassion for the widow of Nain, the man who pulled Zaccheus down out of a tree to show Him a better way, the man who floored some fisherman with a boat-sinking load of fish. This was a man who hurt with the hurting, restored the outcast, and made the extraordinary happen in this hum-drum world. He laughed. He cried. He partied. He rose from the dead. There's nobody like Him. And there is no one else that I look up to more. Nobody else I'd rather be just like.
And He is till not too busy for one, is He?
He stopped His day for me on July 28, 1998.
If Jesus' philosphy of ministry was (and is) one at a time, I'm guessing that is the way ministry works. Which may be why I'm so in love with Compassion International. Behind it all I hear the heartbeat of my hero; we're all about--"Releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name." Jesus. MY Jesus. The wonderful, walk-on-the water, your-sins-are-forgiven, risen-from-the-dead Jesus. The one-at-a time, not-too-busy-for-one Jesus. Compassion echoes Jesus' message that relationships are built one at a time, one child at a time, person to person. Somehow, the ministry of Compassion has led me into a truer understanding of Jesus Christ. It has made me much more aware of the one-at-a-time opportunities in my life. It has made me notice how no one was beneath (or above) Jesus' notice. I know that when I sponsor one child, I can make a big difference. One person matters big time to Jesus. Compassion opens a door for me to live like Jesus, pouring worth into individuals. Hurting with the hurting, restoring the outcast, seeing the dead live again through His redeeming work.
Do you want to be like Jesus? Is He your hero? Cause if He is, I know how you can be a little more like Him.
Sponsor a child...take ONE person to heart...see His smile when you read Matthew 25:40..."In as much as you've done it to the least of these my brethren, You've done it to me!"