It was a cool day in Kenya and the sun was tucked behind the clouds. We were near Homa Bay, an eastern inlet of Lake Victoria visiting the home of sponsored child, Moses. As usual with a Compassion home visit, we had brought the family the customary food basket as a gift. It was packed with sugar, flour, oil, beans, rice, tea and a box of biscuits – essential items for families who often struggle to gather together enough food for one meal a day.
6-year-old Moses was standing in the doorway of his dusty one-roomed home wearing a radiant, cheeky smile and offering us high-fives as we entered. His mum, Theresa, beamed and nodded her head in gratitude – this food basket would provide some relief for her and her family.
It is likely that what happened a few minutes later will stay with me for the rest of my life, for its simplicity and poignancy all at once.
It’s simplicity, because Moses took one of the packets of biscuits from the box and started giving them out to the children around him: his neighbours. It was as if there was no question in his mind –if he had something and his friends did not, the obvious next step would be to share it. It reminded me of the abandonment and generosity of the widow in the story Jesus tells: “This poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
It’s poignancy, because to me, this scene symbolised something much bigger. In that moment, Moses’ friends were sharing in the gift of his biscuits and his enjoyment, gratitude and generosity flowed out to those around him.
It reminded me that when one child is sponsored, the ripple effects of sponsorship flow out to a family, a neighbourhood and sometimes, a nation.
There are countless stories of Compassion graduates from all across the world who themselves have been lifted out of poverty and then gone on to sponsor children for themselves. There are formerly sponsored children who have become local and national leaders and politicians, campaigning for change in their nations. There are sponsored children who have gone on to pay school fees for their siblings or college courses for their parents, who go on to become dependable parents, innovative businessmen, ambitious entrepreneurs and courageous followers of Jesus.
It’s easy to be overwhelmed at the gaping needs we can see in the world around us, even in our neighbourhoods, even from within our own churches. But today, on giving Tuesday, let’s ask ourselves, “What are we doing with our two coins like the widow, or our packet of biscuits?”
Let’s not think about it too long. Let’s not be overwhelmed by the ocean of need around us. Use what you have. Serve one. Feed one. Sponsor one. Encourage one. Pray for one.
The effects of your giving, however large or small, will reverberate around their family, community … and who knows … maybe even the whole world.