The following are actual warning labels on products for children:
- Not intended for highway driving. — On a tricycle
- Do not use as ear plugs. — On a package of silly putty
- Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly. — On a child-sized Superman costume
Clearly, the average manufacturer does not underestimate the ability of a child to think and act outside the box — or a child’s belief that all things are possible.
It is this belief — the willingness of children to open their hearts and minds to all of the possibilities that God has put before them — that continually draws me toward ministry to young people.
This combination of joie de vivre and the simple faith of a child is what I hope to celebrate and encourage everyday of my life here on Earth.
Did you know that the average child smiles 400 times a day? The average adult only 15. What is it that we lose on our way to adulthood?
In our efforts to achieve success, to be taken seriously, to be “mature” — what is it that we give up along the way?
Try this experiment:
Walk up to a group of children and suggest the most impossible of ventures — digging to China via the backyard, for example.
Your suggestion will be met with squeals of delight and approval. There will be an immediate call for shovels. The endeavor will be undertaken without delay and with much enthusiasm and optimism.
You will hear children begging for a role in the project — sharing their abilities and what they can offer to the grand plan. You will hear how and why this idea really could work!
Now gather a group of adults. Propose an idea that will take them outside of their comfort zone — an overseas missions trip or even a volunteer opportunity in their own community.
I guarantee you will get a much different reaction. Be prepared to hear a litany of reasons as to why it can’t be done.
There will be a laundry list of prior commitments, an encyclopedia of flaws that render each person inadequate for the project. “I can’t do this because _______ (fill in the blank.)” A few will join you. Most will not.
Is it any wonder that Jesus said again and again that we must be like children?
I believe it is not merely because children are gentle — but because they are enthusiastic, bold and willing. It is that sparkling trifecta that I believe Christ hopes for in all of his followers.
One of my favorite Bible verses is “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13, NKJV). Who is more faithful to this message than a child?
I think of my own sponsored child who, in his very first letter at the age of seven, told me of his intention to be an artist.
This is a little boy in rural Africa who had never owned a box of crayons or a set of paints in his life. But what does that matter to a child who has faith? Each letter brings a new drawing more beautiful and elaborate than the last.
How many of us would have said, “I don’t have what it takes?” My Compassion child didn’t — he simply forged ahead with the knowledge that through Christ all things are possible.
So sponsors, pause for a moment and thank God for bringing you into a relationship with one of the true movers and shakers in our world — a child. Thank Him for introducing you to someone who will show you what it means to be joyful and optimistic, confident and faithful even in the most impossible of situations.
And while you are at it, offer a hand to one of these children who are so small, yet so bold.
- If you are a sponsor, write your children. Remind them that in their lifetime anything is possible. Tell them how you have learned from them — how they have inspired you.
- If you are not yet a sponsor, I encourage you to make that commitment today. I promise you will get more out of the experience than you could ever possibly give.
Thank you to everyone who sponsors and encourages a child in anyway. I know with certainty that the Lord is smiling down upon you! May we all be more like a child, each and every day of our life!
“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me …
Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”