Wednesday, April 24, 2013

VIP...In Training??

Honestly, my first thought on seeing this picture is that our messed up North American thinking is making quite an ironic statement all the way in Kampala, Uganda...

V.I.P. In Training is printed on her tattered shirt.


I have battled for over 25 years with people in Christian leadership over the needs of children only to be subtly or not so subtly told that they are only children and do not count as worthy of time, attention or money.

You see the ugly truth is that most people view children as valuable only as far as their potential...
            "They are going to be valuable someday… They will be of value when they are voting, earning money, and spending money; able to really think and feel..."

                                          “Children are our future”                                               
they say with beatific smiles and placating pats on my shoulder.
                                                                            "We will take care of them."

Excuse me while I scream long and loud in frustration with that twisted thinking.

Listen to me. If children are our future then what you are truly saying is that we are not responsible for their now. We only need to meet the needs that will sustain them in the future, when they are like us, powerful adults whom we must respect. Who can contribute to our lives.
What this is saying is If children are our future how can we selfishly manipulate them to meet our own needs? It is our future after all, our unknown, and they must be made our servants to insure that we will be taken care of.

Please remember that I am talking about and to Christians. So I ask you, when and where does God’s Word say that we are to put our own convenient needs first above anyone else’s?  Why is it that your church has a worship band with expensive instruments, singers and musicians for the adults but your kids are learning how to worship to a beat up cd? Why is it that you can sell cd's of your sermons but you make the children raise their own money for a trip to church camp? Do you provide transportation for people who have no car or driver's license? How are they supposed to get to church? 
        When did God say that we are only supposed to take care of people who can return the favor? 
We just as easily refuse to give time money or a second thought for the needs of children globally for the exact same reason; they have no impact on our immediate life. We say we are not involved in meeting the needs of children  in missions because we need to meet the needs of our community first but we aren’t doing that either. 

The church today has no problem funding Men’s ministries. Men have giant conferences, where we send our guys to buy t shirts and ball caps and learn how to be a man and run the family and the church. Wonderful, training is important and God knows we need strong leaders. But what if we took the $100 registration fee for each man and asked him to pick a fatherless kid to mentor for a month? Take him out to eat, buy him a basket ball and play with him.
Women dump piles of cash into Bible study guides, cute jesus jewelry, and coffee cups. Dear God! What if we took the extra funds and mentored a teenage mother through a crisis pregnancy?   
We take trips to Christian theme parks and plays and buy a ton of books and journals when as little as 40 bucks a month can save a child’s life in a third world country.

It is so much easier to have the children’s minister haul the kids off to an Easter Egg hunt and let you hang with your friends during church than it is to invest your life into a child’s life isn't it?

Are children valuable or are they just waiting to be valuable?

Are they the most Very Important Person? Or are they in training to be valuable when they grow up?

Before you go there and decide Yes, I want to invest in children let me warn you of a few things
  • Children rarely say thank you. They may never stand up in church and sing your praises.
  • Children cannot buy you a cup of Starbucks or take you out to eat.
  • They will walk into your life and walk right back out and you may never know if you made a difference or not.
  • Sometimes they will fight everything you try to do for them. They haven’t yet learned to trust.
  • You will work long hours, very often alone.
  • Once you have seen them with God’s eyes they will multiply like space invaders. You will see needy little ones everywhere you go all over the world, looking at you with Jesus’ eyes.
  • Serving children will break your heart. And it will be a pain like you have never known.
  • Children are the ripest field for harvest. They are so fresh from God’s home that they leap at the chance to go back into His arms. If you take Jesus to them they will accept Him faster and stronger than any other people group.
  • Children will love you with the purest most valuable love God ever made between humans.
  • When they are not flesh of your flesh, natural born children and you love and serve them, a connection to God is formed in your heart that the Enemy cannot understand or penetrate. 
  • When you love a child through adoption, you love most truly as God loves us.

 This sweet girl with her disarming smile and her reticent stance is not by any means a V.I.P. in training. She is the most valuable gift the Father has lavished on us. The gift of life wrapped around an eternal soul created in His image.

Guard your precious valuables with all that is in you and you will see the face of God.

Thank you Friends of TOUCH for the photo.
Friends of Touch is a Christian ministry dedicated to giving children an opportunity and a voice. Our mission is to show Orphaned and Vulnerable Children the love of Christ in a tangible way – to nurse, equip and release them to be leaders and professionals, and to equip them to reach their God-given potential.

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