Last Saturday I worked an event for Compassion International in a for a movie showing of Son of God. My duties were to show up an hour early to set up the display and hand out information cards to all movie goers as they entered the theater and then display child sponsorship cards as they exited. During the movie, I was able to sit and watch with the rest of them, and it was the best portrayal of the story of Jesus I believe I’ve ever seen. I would highly recommend it to anyone.
But I digress…
As I was handing out the cards before the movie, one man looked at it and asked, “What is this?” After I gave him a very brief explanation, he handed the card back and said, “I can’t even afford my own kids. Thank God for the complimentary tickets.” Initially I was taken aback, but it quickly turned to compassion for this man. Thank God, indeed. His statement demonstrated such humility. And, yes, thank God he received a complimentary ticket so he would be able to share the story of Jesus with his children.
I had an opportunity to pray for that man, and for the others as they accepted the card I handed each of them. I prayed that God would speak to each individual heart in that theater as only He knows what each needs most.
I had another man tell me the people coming in behind him were atheist. My answer? “Wonderful!” with a broad smile. “Welcome!” And another prayer sent up to a loving Father who welcomes all.
After the movie, as I was displaying child sponsorship packets, I had an opportunity to speak with others who already sponsor a child. One woman told me of her trip to Tanzania to visit her sponsored child. As she spoke of the poverty, a level she admitted she was nowhere near able to comprehend or prepare for, her eyes lit up as she told me what a life-changing experience it was.
As I drove the 45-minute drive home, I had time to consider the opportunities that were given to me that evening to pray. As if I need an opportunity at all.
And it struck me that as I was praying for God to speak to each heart in that theater, he didn’t miss mine. He spoke to me in a way He knew I would hear.
He blessed me as I reached out to bless others.
He showed me that there are so many areas to serve, and no one way is the right way. As many people as there are, there are at least as many ways to serve.
The man who admitted he couldn’t afford his own children? He served by blessing me with gratitude for what I have. He reminded me to be grateful for what I have rather than want what I don’t.
The atheist? He served by giving me a chance to love without discriminating. To accept and not judge. And to be welcoming rather than drive him away. The fact that he was coming to see the movie Son of God? Beautiful.
The woman who spoke to me of her life-changing experience in Tanzania? She served by moving forward, if only an inch, the recent plea of one of my sponsor children of when I will come visit her. My sweet Mamounata in Burkina Faso. And that inch is one inch closer to making a child’s dream come true.