Five months ago, my 15 year-old daughter, Grace, and I were presented with an exciting opportunity – travel to Ecuador on a Compassion trip and meet the two children that we sponsor! After praying about it, we eagerly said YES!
Over the next few months, we raised money, attended meetings, and packed our bags. A week or so before the trip, though, a hard truth became uncomfortably real to us.
It’s so much easier to talk (or think, or read) about doing good than actually getting up and doing it!
Grace and I were firmly convinced that this trip was a good thing that God intended for us to do. It was a chance to love the children of Ecuador, to serve the Compassion project, to speak love and affirmation to our sponsor kids in the flesh.
When push came to shove, though, and the good things we had planned had to be actually lived out, doubts and fears came at us hard. For example, Grace became physically ill from her fear of flying. I started to doubt the wisdom of leaving my husband and four other children (one of whom is a toddler). And my 10-year old DID NOT want me to leave for a week!
This reluctance, for whatever reason, to act on the good that we know to be true is an unfortunate aspect of the human condition. As Christians, we are reminded over and over in the New Testament to DO good things, not merely plan them, or hear about them, or think about them.
Do not merely listen to the word . . . Do what it says. James 1:22
Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it. Luke 11:28
And do not forget to do good and to share with others. Hebrews 13:16
Never tire of doing what is good. 2 Thessalonians 3:13
Yes, waiting and listening for God is often appropriate and necessary. But not always. Not forever. God expects us to DO good; to show the world what He is like through acts of kindness, love, and compassion.
Friends, what if our families took God’s word seriously and determined to do good, right where we are? What if we acted on our desire to have a new family over for dinner? Or actually got up and visited the elderly neighbor that is surely lonely? What if we stopped talking about the new ministry that needs to be started, and actually started it ourselves?
What an example of action and obedience we would set for our children. And others would begin to know us by our love, rather than by our apathy.
You may have guessed that Grace and I did get on the plane to Ecuador. And at the end of the week, we did meet our sponsor kids. I was able to tell them things in person that are not the same in letters. “I’m so proud of you and your choices.” “You are a beautiful girl.” “This is what I say to my own son, so I’m going to say it to you . . .”
That trip was not only good for the people we met in Ecuador; it was good for us. Our faith was strengthened, our relationship grew, and we came back a little more emboldened to live out the words of Scripture in the small, everyday moments of our lives.