Seventeen years ago yesterday, the world lost a princess. I was a senior in high school, and her death deeply saddened me. Because despite what may have been going on in her private life, she exuded beauty, grace and compassion to the public. Following her death, I wrote an opinion piece about the tragic circumstances surrounding the accident. It was published by our local paper, and it officially marked the first time I saw my name in print apart from school publications. Three months later I traveled to London. Outside Buckingham Palace, flowers, wreaths and pictures still littered the front gate.
I adored Princess Diana … not so much for her position (although her title captured my imagination as well), but for the role she played in the world’s need. She used her privilege to bring images of some of the globe’s most impoverished to the front pages. And she didn’t merely pose for a photo op, Princess Di touched these people, held them, loved them. My favorite images of her included her trips to Africa with the Red Cross. She didn’t shrink away from those who had been dismembered by land mines, and she wasn’t afraid of those who had fallen victim to AIDS. For a girl from a small town in the Midwest, she opened up a window into the world’s need.
With the advent of social media and 24/7 news, we as a society are more aware than ever of worldwide needs and charitable causes. Yet social media also affords us the opportunity to feign involvement or concern by simply liking a story or sharing a post. So today I want to encourage you to examine more than the headlines. I want to encourage you to examine your heart. Is there a need to which you’re drawn? And do you have the capacity to meet that need in some way?
There are countless reputable charitable organizations, but if you’re not sure where to start, consider beginning with your local church. Local churches are often keenly aware of both area and global needs. They can direct you to organizations or ministries that desperately need your time, your talent or both. We also firmly believe in the ministry of Compassion International. We sponsor a Ugandan boy, and it’s a fantastic way to meet tangible needs, share the good news of the Gospel, and build a relationship with a sponsor child. Additionally, my husband travels to Belize each year to serve with iServants. Both Compassion and iServants are on the ground in impoverished areas providing relief, meeting real needs, and sharing the good news of the Gospel.
Now what about you? Will you examine your heart today? Will you pray about giving or going?
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'” – Matthew 25:40.
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