The Little Things Matter Most

August 18, 2011

When a child believes that he’s stupid, all of a sudden the world is a small place, opportunities are limited, and taking a risk is a dangerous thing to even consider. That’s how my tutoring session started out – with the declaration, “I’m stupid.” It’s the most heart breaking thing to hear a child say. This is a 15 year old boy who is trying to pass 6th grade. He feels completely alone and hopeless.

Today we did a lesson in place value. I used an abacus and some place value cards. We did a few simple games – understanding ones, tens, hundreds, and thousands. At the end of the lesson he did a sample test and got them all correct. “I never understood this before,” he said to me with a spark in his eyes. “They never taught me this way.” And there it was – a glimmer of hope. That realization that he can learn, he’s not stupid and with each success, this feeling will grow. Then the world will open up to him, full of possibilities – he can dream and shoot for the stars!

If you think of it, pray for this boy and others like him. That they will continue to show up for their lessons and give it their all. Pray that with the help and support of their church and a community of Christians that love them, they will succeed and break the cycle of poverty that encircles them, rise above and live life to their full potential.

What about you? Do you have even just 30 minutes a week you could invest into a child at risk in your area? Tutoring and mentoring have the potential to change the course of a child’s life.


Our Role in God’s Plan

August 5, 2011

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Cor. 15:58

“But what we can and must do in the present, if we are obedient to the gospel, if we are following Jesus, if we are indwelt, energized, and directed by the Spirit, is to build for the kingdom. This brings us back to 1 Corinithians 15:58 once more: what you do in the Lord is not in vain. You are not oiling the wheels of a machine that’s about to roll over a cliff. You are not restoring a great painting that’s shortly going to be thrown on the fire. You are not planting roses in a garden that’s about to be dug up for a building site. You are – strange though it may seem, almost as hard to believe as the resurrection itself – accomplishing something that will become in due course part of God’s new world. Every act of love, gratitude, and kindness; every work of art or music inspired by the love of God and delight in the beauty of his creation; every minute spent teaching a severely handicapped child to read or to walk; every act of care and nurture, of comfort and support, for one’s fellow human beings and for that matter one’s fellow nonhuman creatures; and of course every prayer, all Spirit-led teaching, every deed that spreads the gospel, builds up the church, embraces and embodies holiness rather than corruption, and makes the name of Jesus honored in the world – all of this will find its way, through the resurrecting power of God, into the new creation that God will one day make. That is the logic of the mission of God.”

– N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope, quoted in The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns