The photo in the morning newspaper hit me hard and haunted me throughout the day. It was the mid-1980s, and drought, famine, and civil wars had created a migration of refugees in Ethiopia at levels never seen before.
The catastrophe was in the news daily, but I didn’t have much time to pay close attention. Building a career, remodeling an older home, and wrangling three pre-school children kept me busy — and insulated — from the events happening an ocean away.
Then the photo broke into my space.
The image was of a bearded Ethiopian, thin and weatherworn, walking through a desert region with his mouth agape. You could tell he was famished and thirsty. His eyes were desperate — but not so much for himself.
On his shoulders was a boy with dark hair. He was shockingly thin, like his dad, with the same desperate, dark eyes.
They looked with longing in the same direction as they leaned into the wind together, moving toward the hope of relief. The caption said the father had carried his son many miles, from camp to camp, in search of food and water.
I saw in his face the love of a father who would give all he had so his son could live. I couldn’t look at my children in the same nonchalant way anymore.
I couldn’t take for granted the blessings that surrounded me, including the opportunity to earn a living and sustain my family with adequate housing, food, and clothing. I just couldn’t.
So here I am years later at Compassion, wondering what would be so important, so critical, that it would cause me to create discord or division among my co-workers and disrupt our efforts to bring relief to those who are hoping?
I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. —1 Corinthians 1:10, NIV
Prayer: Father, conform our priorities to yours. Give us the discernment to understand our own motivations. Grant us the wisdom to work in harmony. May our thoughts and actions always give you glory. Amen.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Charles Hickmott works as a Creative Projects Manager at the Global Ministry Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Read all the One in Spirit devotionals.