Last night I served food to the material impoverished at a local soup kitchen. I still struggle internally with those acts because of Corbet and Fikkert’s book, but at the same time I cannot forget what our Lord said:
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” (Matthew 25.34-40)
And, while it may sound odd, feeding the material impoverished is one of my favorite things to do. So there I was when the first group came up to receive their food. Leading the way was a very young, little girl. Probably 2 or under (I’d guess under). She clearly didn’t understand what was going on or what was expected of her. Expecting such a young girl to lead the way on a buffet line is crazy. But, her mother got mad and smacked her with the paper plate. The girl froze and visibly shut down. We tried to guide her by calling her to us in a friendly way, but that only seemed to frighten her (understandably so) more. She rubbed her eyes. The mother yelled at her again. One of the servers pointed out that the little girl seemed tired. The mother responded by informing us that she was a very bad girl, never listens, etc etc. She then gave her daughter a…push…with her foot to get her moving again.
As a father of 3 with 2 girls basically 2 and under, this really hit home for me. I cried. Not a lot, just some tears and I don’t think anyone noticed but I couldn’t help but wonder what her “home” (assuming she has a home) life is like. It was especially hard for me because Mrs. Wine and I plan on adopting several children. We do not plan on adopting newborns so this little girl could have been of the age that we might adopt from. But we can’t right now because like the other 40 million Americans, we have student loan debt. We can’t afford to adopt until the debt is paid off.
I know many people want money because they want to be rich. We just want out of debt so that we can have the financial freedom to help others. It is a hard burden: wanting to have the financial freedom to help others but being unable to do so because of student loan debt. It is a burden we chose, to be sure, but hindsight is 20/20. So in the mean time, I’ll try to use the face of that girl as motivation to continue to be frugal and deny myself so that we can continue on our plan of debt reduction. I’ll also continue to pray for some sort of amazing financial windfall from someone that will pay off our loans.
As for you, dear reader, have you considered adoption? Or perhaps becoming a foster parent? Think and pray about it. Here is an excellent, though definitely emotional, video on being a foster parent.