Being partners with something larger than yourself . . . makes you larger than yourself.
My youngest son, Daniel, scanned the newsletter from some friends of ours who foster babies* in central China. He asked “What’s wrong with that kid?” with all the tact that 8-year-olds usually have, which is none at all. The boy he was referring to is an orphan being cared for by our friends—in the boy’s case, he has a facial tumor that is being treated in the nearest Chinese megacity, and the article explained the cost (time and money) of treatment while asking for continued prayer for this child and the foster network.
“Who pays for [the treatment]?” Daniel asked.
“Well, the American family who wrote the newsletter does.”
“Oh.” Silence. “How do they get the money?”
“People give them money, and they use that money to keep living there and to help kids like the one in the picture.”
I could see him pondering the costs of the procedures, the family that was dependent on supporters, the boy who would have died but for their help. “Dad, do we give them money?”
I paused. We don’t keep it a secret from our kids that we support people working overseas, but I hesitated because I wanted to guard against pride—to make sure I was going to tell him from the right heart. “Yes, we do. When we came home from China, we set up an automatic draw from our bank account so that those people would be able to count on financial support from us. Our family is one of the reasons they’re able to stay there and help those kids.” I found my eyes nearly tearing up and my heart singing with pride—the right kind—at being able to be partners with the work in China. I was SO glad to be able to tell my son “We’re part of that boy’s recovery.”
Why journal about this? I think it’s because we all need to be part of something bigger than ourselves. If you don’t already have something that you’re contributing to that is bigger than yourself . . . I could introduce you to my friends in China, but it’s not about these particular friends or that particular work. Do find some way to give your life away. Partner with people who are giving their lives away. I don’t believe Jesus was joking when he said that whoever loses his life would gain it—he knew that’s where the real life is found, in the giving away and losing.
*These friends and their network of Chinese families foster-care babies so they don’t die in Chinese orphanages. Sometimes the babies do die, but if so they die being held in love, which is not something they cannot expect in the orphanage. We are honored to know these amazing people and affirm the importance of what they’re doing with the life God has given them.