Enlarge Your Circle of Caring
We have a tendency during difficult times to pull back in and to attend only to our immediate needs. And when a family member is sick or in trouble we may turn from outside responsibilities and care for them. That is human. That is normal.
It is also healthy, since Christians are charged with caring for the people God sends to us. But being a part of the body of Christ means always recognizing that we are also part of a larger family of people around the world whom God also loves and has given us the responsibility to care for.
The other day I was talking to a friend about my daughter. When she was born she had a cleft palate. But being American, she was born to a privileged class and had her palate repaired by the surgeon who had designed the latest surgeries for these infants. As she finishes her Ph.D. this spring, I cannot help but think how different her life would have been if she had been born in Viet Nam or some other country where she would not have had access to the care she received.
If you have ever talked to a person with an unrepaired palate then you will know that they do not sound intelligible. And they usually go deaf. In another country, my daughte'rs genius might have gone unrecognized because of the circumstances of her birth.
So I think as I write these words this Mother's Day about all the mothers who have children who are hungry or needing surgery or some other kind of care, and I know that I cannot limit my responsibility as a mother to the children I gave birth to. And I cannot limit my care as a Christian to those whom I can see and share fellowship with.
I think of the words of Jesus when he reminded us that everyone loves those in their family -- even the gentiles do that. If we are called to love even our enemies then certainly we are called to love every mother's child.
Find a cause that enlarges your scope of care. Operation Smile does cleft palate surgery in developing countries. Lutheran World Hunger continues to feed people around the world. My sister has a golf tournament in her late husband's honor every year for diabetes research. Her husband was an avid golfer and her son has diabetes.
Sometimes you find a cause that touches your heart because it has come close to you. Sometimes you have to look out a little further. Find a cause that enlarges your heart and give generously.
In the Old Testament there is talk about tithes and offerings. It suggests to me that we go beyond the legalism of 10 percent. We open our hearts to the needs we see and it opens our hearts to make more room for God's love.
Lord, We give thanks for the generous way that you have cared for us and that because of that abundance we can be generous with others. amen
Copyright © 2007, The Rev. Dana Reardon. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Email her at
The Rev. Dana Reardon is pastor at St.
Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, Warwick, RI. A lifelong Lutheran, she
came to ordained ministry after 21 years in nursing, mostly in pediatric
intensive care. She graduated from Lutheran Theological Seminary at
Philadelphia in 1998 and served 4 ½ years in Upstate New York before
becoming a New Englander. She is still trying to understand the
accent. While in the Upstate New York Synod she chaired the Stewardship
Team. That began her fascination with what makes stewards -- and more,
what makes for generosity. She has three amazing daughters: Pastor Reardon says much of what she knows of
life she learned from them.