I’ve got a weird feeling in my heart. It’s a lump of grief without tears, an uncomfortable tickle urging me to cough, a thick feeling I”d like to swallow away and yet when I try I find it lingers on in the back of my throat. All over my Facebook feed, I’ve been reading about World Vision’s decision to begin employing homosexuals in an effort to unify the church. Jon and I sponsor 3 children through World Vision.
Sigh. Now what?
This question has been floating around my head since I first learned the news of World Vision’s change of policy. Do we continue giving to World Vision? Does their policy on homosexuality truly matter in the long run as we aren’t basing our family’s theology off of World Vision? What happens if I stop sending our financial gifts to World Vision? Will those 3 beautiful girls in the photos stop receiving services? I pondered about what I should do in response to this new information. Surely, by partnering with World Vision and giving financially to their programs, I am loving the “least of these” … Right?
Figuring it was too early in the morning for such deep thoughts and wanting to ease my stress, I decided to check my email. But doing so only made my heart ache worse, for in one of the emails I read about Wesley and his story. ( http://mad.ly/4bca94 )
Wesley isn’t an orphan exactly. He’s an abandoned child. Left at the gate of an orphanage by his family at age six … no note, no explanation given. Just a boy, alone. He will turn 14 in August … at which point he will age out of the system, no longer able to be adopted, destined to live his life without a family.
After reading about this boy “whom no one cared for,”my instant thought was to pray for some other person to come love him. And then, like a small shockwave to my soul, I heard a whisper in my heart, saying, “What about you? How will you love my sheep? Are you willing to do more than give a little bit of half-hearted love?”
Quite honestly, my involvement with World Vision has been just that … half-hearted. Oh, a couple of times a week I pause to pray for Samanise, Manahel and Julian by name, if I don’t forget. Each month the money flows out of my bank account, never really missed.
Somehow it feels empty, this giving without engagement. There’s no cost to me really. Even though I do pay out $100 or so a month, it’s rather easy come, easy go money. I don’t even know the exact amount. I rarely think of it. I just pay and go about my own business.
How is this loving someone else in the name of Christ?
Please. Don’t misunderstand me or my heart this morning. Giving is wonderful. God expects us to give, even give sacrificially. I am grateful for those people who have poured into my life, often financially or materially, when I needed it. I believe whole-heartedly that God loves a cheerful giver. There is nothing wrong with financially supporting ministries and it is something my family is blessed to be able to do regularly.
Yet deep down I know that for me the act of giving money to World Vision is no more loving than giving away my old, discarded clothes to Goodwill is an act of love.
So why do I bother? Perhaps to feel better about myself? Maybe to convince myself and others that I really do care?
The Bible says that Christians will be known by their love. (John 13:35) So why is it that most days I don’t feel loving? I feel a lot of things: stress over money, worry about raising my kids right, concern for the direction my nation is heading. But it saddens me to think I don’t really feel loving towards others, especially people who aren’t in my little world, which revolves mostly around me and my activities.
This year, my family has been working to memorize the love chapter of the Bible. I’ve always enjoyed the flow of this passage of scripture. Normally, the rhythm of the words lilt along, leaving pleasant sorts of thoughts in my mind.
1 Corinthians 13: 1, 3
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. … If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Not this morning. Today the words stung, prickling my heart, mostly because I know what love looks like:
It looks like my brother Reid and his wife Heather, who put money, time and tears into adopting Eli. Now, our entire family is richer for this blessing in ways I cannot even begin to describe.
It looks like my Uncle Curt and Aunt DeDe, who picked up and moved to Africa to serve as missionaries. They left behind aging parents, beautiful grandchildren, and a comfortable life, simply because they know Christ and wanted to share His love with those who didn’t.
It looks like my friend Marcia, who I’ve never met face-to-face, but if I did I’d immediately hug her neck and tell her what an inspiration she is to me. Instead of just talking big about being pro-life on social media, Marcia and her husband are actually stepping out in faith by helping one young pregnant woman choose life by adopting her baby. (Here’s the link to her story: http://marcia-underhiswings.blogspot.com/2014/03/happy-anniversary-were-having-baby.html )
Love isn’t half-hearted, and it isn’t empty either. It is action. It is involved. It is compassion and truth mixed together. While love isn’t all about fuzzy, feel-good moments, it fills the giver and the receiver up and makes a mark on the soul.
Because I know what love looks like, I am challenged to do more than give a little half-hearted love. I ask for your prayers as I seek for God to reveal to me how I can love others with His love.
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’