Day 10: Compassion near AND far

For $18, you can give a high-quality mosquito net to a child. About 1,000,000 people die from malaria each year, most younger than age 5.

I put on a little skit for a Sunday school class that changed how I thought about missions.

I had an idea that was pretty simple.  I got a child from my church to help me with the skit.

I was expected to get up and do a presentation for Compassion International, but when I got up to speak, the child walked in the room.

What is the greatest cause of death among children 5 and under?  Malnutrition.  Feed a baby and a mother for one month for $14.

What is the greatest cause of death among children 5 and under? Malnutrition. Feed a baby and a mother for one month for $14. For about the cost of a couple new outfits or three video games, you can feed a baby and mother for a year ($168).

“Excuse me, but I haven’t had any breakfast this morning.  Do
you have anything I could eat?”

I said, “Uh, no, I don’t, not on me.  I’m sorry . . . I would give you some money, but, look I don’t have
much, and I was looking forward to going to Starbucks tomorrow.  Uh .
. I think there’s some donuts in the hallway out there, if you have a

“I don’t.”

I said, “Well–I’m sure somebody will give you one.  I mean, you’re a kid!
People like kids!  People like to help kids!  Somebody will help you.”

The boy turned to go, hesitated, and then turned back.

“Well–have you
ever heard of someone named ‘Jesus’?  Could you tell me about Him?”

Provide a first-time HIV test for a child.
“No longer an automatic death sentence, HIV can be managed using antiretroviral therapy (ART). But an initial test is crucial to helping children defy the disease and manage it for a lifetime.” (from Compassion)

I said, “You don’t know about Jesus?  My goodness!  Well.  I, I’d tell you but
I have so much work to do and there’s gonna be I Love Lucy reruns on
all afternoon and–hey I work hard during the week, and I really need
the downtime and–well SOMEBODY will surely tell you about Jesus.  Why
don’t you, uh, why don’t you go out in the hall and find someone?  Ok?
All right, good deal.  Bye.”


For $15, you can help children in Eastern India go to a career workshop.

I don’t know how effective my point was in reaching anyone else, but the point God had given me through this metaphor stunned me.  I would never, ever do this to a child who walked into my life.  If it meant I wouldn’t go out to eat, or I wouldn’t get my downtime, I’d still share my money and the Gospel with a child–in fact, I’d give them up in a heartbeat.

But there’s more to it than that.  If a child, in fact, was in front of me hungry and I had no other food but my own, I’d give it.  I couldn’t not.  And if a child was in front of me asking me about Jesus, even if I hadn’t slept in two days and had a massive pile of work to do, I’d take the time to share.  That’s how much the opportunity would mean to me.

The question is . . why is it any different for me if the child is–instead of 3 feet away–3,000 miles away?


Training for parents about parasites, and parasite medicine if they need it, costs $4 per child.


In the United States, pneumonia and diarrhea are usually not serious in children.  But for a child in extreme poverty, these two diseases can be deadly.  For$40, children can receive life-saving help, and parents can be educated on how to help prevent these diseases in the future.

I can’t justify an answer to that.  Not knowing is one thing–but do we really not know there are children starving all over the world?  Is it really about that?  Or is it that we know but, because the child can’t directly ask us for help, it is convenient for us not to give it?


I don’t want to stand before God on Judgment Day and say I didn’t feed children or share the Gospel with them because I didn’t have to see their malnourished bodies and I didn’t have to look into their Jesus-hungry eyes.  I know how it went for the rich man in Jesus’ parable who passed by the poor, wretched beggar every day–and it did not go well for him.

Salvation isn’t based on works, but salvation can’t fail to produce works.  If we are really saved, we really have to act like it.  It is really not a choice.  And we really can’t go any longer pretending that the needs of others don’t matter because they happen to be on the other side of the world from us.

What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?

So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. (James 2:14-17, NLT)

Click here to view all the gifts in Compassion’s Catalog.