I wrote the following devotional that appeared in The Journey Christian Newspaper today. A new publishing credit!
Working for a non-profit children’s ministry means I often get to feel fulfilled by what I do for a living. Children come to us because they are abandoned, abused and neglected and it’s a blessing to be in a position to help them. But as you might suspect, I often find that the children bless me as much if not more than I do them.
I was working in my office one afternoon when Joey came to visit. Just four-years-old at the time, he would normally have been too young for our program. But Joey came from a particularly challenging set of circumstances. He and his older brother had been in four foster homes in four weeks largely due to the fact that Joey had yet to be potty trained. Abuse and inconsistency had conspired to keep him in diapers.
Often in situations like this, the brothers would have been separated, but their social worker knew our program and knew our reputation for keeping siblings together. So our ministry got special permission to take in Joey and his brother and we began the slow and often frustrating process of bringing him up to speed. It was challenging, but Joey made it all worthwhile with his angelic blue eyes and toothy grin.
At four, Joey was firmly in the “Why?” stage of life. Full of questions, any answer we gave him inevitably spawned a “why?” So when he came into my office and asked me what I was doing, I prepared for a lengthy discussion. I had some time and decided to give Joey a real answer to his question rather than simply saying that I was working.
“Well,” I said. “I’m writing grants and doing research and making calls to help raise money.” As if on cue, he said, “Why?”
“So we can buy food and pay for electricity and buy tennis shoes for all the children who live here like you and your brother,” I said.
I sat back and waited for the inevitable, “Why.” But Joey took me by surprise. His blue eyes widened, he put one chubby little hand to his chest and said, “For me?”
Tears sprang to my eyes. Yes, Joey, I thought, for you. But after Joey went on his way I realized that what I do isn’t for Joey; nor is it for his brother, or any other of the dozens of children served by our ministry each year. What I do is for God. He has placed me here, in this place, at this time, to do His work. I have Joey to thank for reminding me for whom I have the honor of working. In your life, remember whoever you serve and whatever you do, there is a God who led with a Child and is asking you to honor Him.