National Spokesperson for CCFSA
Paul Woodward ministers with Houston’s Impact Church of Christ. Under the headline “Defenseless,” he wrote about Nadine, whose mother kept her under a blanket in her crib until she died at age four. Then in quick succession, he talked about several other unfortunate children. He spoke of a baby who has a father his mother now hates, a child whose mother loves crack more than her, a mother who remembers being put outside naked when she was nine because her mother wanted to “punish” her.
How do we respond to such stories?
Perhaps our first response is to work harder. Push our volunteers more. Make our child care agency more aggressive. Set higher goals for staff. Build up the numbers. Beat more bushes to find more money to care for more defenseless children, but we can only do so much. Like paint, if we are spread too thinly, we don’t cover anything very well.
Working harder conveniently narrows the field to the children who fall under our shadow. By shining a bright light on the children served in our ministry, we inadvertently keep the others in the dark. For people who deeply care for children, “out of sight, out of mind” is an ugly, but sadly appropriate proverb.
Jesus faced the same situation.
There were more blind people than He had sight to give. More hungry people than He could feed. More lame legs than He had replacement ligaments for. Clearly, Jesus didn’t lack the power or the resources, but more than once he left hurting people in the crowd because He knew that thin paint wouldn’t cover the task He had before Him. Out of sight, were they also out of His mind?
What did He do? He recruited others. Jesus cast the vision of a movement of compassionate people that would rise up to serve the defenseless. You are part of that movement. The ever-present poor person is not a reminder that Jesus couldn’t get to everybody, or that out of sight meant out of His mind, but an opportunity for His followers to take up the same task.
Our task is to imitate Jesus, first, in serving those we can and, second, in casting a vision for others to follow. Our responsibility does not end when we have squeezed every child we can through the front door. Our job includes keeping the vision alive, of drawing new people into the movement, of calling others to help.
That’s what Paul Woodward was doing. Believing that Nadine did not die in vain, he tells her story to move others to join him, in the hope that, together, we can cover more than any of us could cover separately.