Congratulations to the community of Milton-Freewater for recently completing its 20th Crop Walk fundraiser to combat world hunger.
This annual walk is sponsored by churches and communities around the world. The final tally for this fundraiser is not compiled yet, but will likely push its 20-year total to more than $100,000. That is a great milestone in donations offered in the name of Jesus Christ to help people in need.
The total donations represent many steps taken and hundreds of miles walked. Donations are typically under $10, which powerfully reminds us that out of little comes much. In Scripture the woman at the temple offered two mites. It was a laughably miniscule offering. Yet Jesus well-regarded her for giving all she had.
Through the many small donations, lives are being changed. Hope is extended through donations that provide food, clean water and the love of our Savior Jesus Christ.
The motto for Crop Walk, "We walk because they walk," reflects the difficulties the poor and hungry deal with daily. They walk miles to find work and food. They walk miles to carry water from watering holes back to their homes. They walk, so we walk.
I give a very special thank you to each participant for walking, and especially to those who so generously donated to this urgent need.
In the movie, "Mother Teresa," the godly woman was touched by the words and desperate need of a pauper.
"I thirst, I thirst, I thirst," he kept saying.
From the safety of a train platform, she threw him a small coin. It was quickly snatched away by a faster young boy. The need of the old man remained. The small coin would have done little to stem the tide of his need or of poverty in general, but it was a beginning.
Frederick Buechner said, "The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."
Mother Teresa recognized, through that thirsty man, God calling her to a new place. She was disturbed by the needs she saw on the other side of the tracks, of people who worked hard, struggled and strove to get ahead. But because of their circumstances, they did not have the opportunities afforded those who have coins in their pockets.
That need still exists today. "Your pain in my heart" is an apt definition for compassion. The pain others feel becomes our pain. It is becoming one with our brothers and sisters.
A professor of missions once told me that the Church will truly look like Christ's Church when it recognizes its brothers and sisters in need around the world. He asked me the hard question, "If that were your birth brother or sister in abject poverty, wouldn't you help them?"
Their needs become our cares. Jesus desired our compassion to be expressed to everyone as if it were to him.
"Lord when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you? The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me,'" Matthew 25:37-40.
Mother Teresa willingly served the poorest of the poor through the Charity of Mercy Order. She saw the face of Jesus in everyone to whom she ministered. And she recognized it as a blessing to be able to serve God in such a way. She epitomized what it is to have the compassion of Christ.
She demonstrated a life lived well, successful by emptying self and serving others.
Mother Teresa boldly stepped out in faith, following God's calling to start a ministry to the poorest of the poor. Her ministry became a world-famous charity.
But fame does not count for much to those who were touched by the Sisters of Charity. Compassion and care are the currency that purchases their gratitude and respect.
Congratulations, Milton-Freewater and the Crop Walks around the globe. With God's strength and presence, may your efforts continue to make a difference.
The Rev. Steve Lyons is pastor of First Christian Church, 518 S. Main St. in Milton-Freewater. Pastors in the U-B circulation area who want to write a column should contact Catherine Hicks at 509-526-8312, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.