Monday, January 13, 2014

You Can Be A Child's Hero


We all use this word to laud those whom we admire for their virtue, their integrity, their courage, and their convictions. A TV network has a yearly show that is devoted to recognizing those whom the public most votes for as the ones considered heroes. We link this word with certain groups of people. We tie this word with military troops, veterans, firefighters and police officers, those whose occupations put them in positions where they may have to risk their lives to save the lives of others. More and more, ordinary citizens come to the attention of the media when they do lifesaving acts for others. We hear their stories, maybe wondering what we would have done in their place.

I remember when Amanda Berry, Gina Dejesus, and Michelle Knight were rescued. Charles Ramsey, who freed Berry to call authorities and get her little girl out, has been hailed as a hero. Since then, Berry's little girl, who alerted her mom to a way to leave that house of horrors, is now being hailed as a hero also, according to more recent stories. That bookkeeper, Antionette Tuff, who risked her life and prevented a potential gunman from shooting anyone at her school, is being recognized as a hero. We who follow Jesus, of course, properly admire and praise these individuals. And we should. Yet I do not think God wants or needs us Christians to depend on certain groups of people or select individuals, to develop the virtue of courage, the practice of putting others' needs before our wants, even at personal expense. After all, this is what the all time greatest Hero, Jesus, did for each of us. He not only risked his life but gave His life, and for all of us.

Many, maybe most of us will never find ourselves in situations where we will find a house where women are being hid downstairs and chained, as Berry, Dejesus, and Knight were for a decade. We are unlikely to be confronted with a person with a gun, who can kill us or others around us. Yes, the sad possibility is always here in a fallen world, that we can at any time be in a position to be a Charles Ramsey or an Antionette Tuff. But God will not hold us accountable for opportunities that we never had, to exhibit qualities that He wants to see in our lives. But all of us can still put others' needs before ours, even at our own expense. We can save lives. You no doubt know about child sponsorship and that countless children, families and communities around the world face absolute poverty and great need. You may feel overwhelmed and wonder what can you do? Well, I have good news for you.

You have no doubt seen TV or Internet ads by many child sponsorship nonprofits. All promise to provide sponsored children with food, clothing, shelter, and maybe education. So how does Compassion International stand out from the rest? As Christians, this nonprofit should appeal to us because Compassion is an openly Christian nonprofit ad they offer those children they serve personalized spiritual care. No, they do not require the children, families and communities they serve to be Christian or to become Christians. They just work to get rid of material poverty and spiritual poverty. And they have many more children waiting for sponsors who will commit money and time to save them from great poverty. THese are people without the basics of life, like adequate food, clean water, clothing, shelter, and educational opportunities. They, their families, and communities are looking for heroes.

Will you be a hero?

Each of these images are courtesy of Compassion International.

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