According to Matthew 11:25, Jesus prayed, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children….”
I enjoy visiting friends in Russia, but this summer governments closed borders and I could not return to see my friends. Nevertheless, we have visited via Zoom and other electronic means. Our histories are radically different, so some of our expectations and norms differ. Governments of our two nations are different, but the people are pretty much the same.
Last week a friend here sent a real letter to me through the mail! With the letter he included a twenty dollar bill his son had given to him. Here’s the story. “Daddy, I want to send this to the Russians.” “Son, this is a lot of money, and you’ve already given them ten dollars. So, why don’t you just save this?” The boy is nine years old.
Son: “But I don’t need it. You and momma will take care of me and I’ll just buy toys or something I don’t need with it.” Dad: “Yes, but this is a lot of money for you as you don’t have a steady income and there will be something you want in the future that I won’t buy for you.” Tears began to form in his big, brown eyes and sobbing he replied, “But the Russians need it and I don’t! They’re going to buy food with it and I’ll just buy a toy that I don’t need!”
Please understand, none of my Russian friends are destitute. But, like all of us sometimes they go through difficult times and need help. One pastor earns extra money during the school year by teaching English. Sometimes during the summer he has to use credit for basic needs or emergencies, but then pays off his debt when school starts again. Also, as a pastor he knows needs of many members in his congregation. The boy had heard stories about my helping friends with needs like this, and God touched his heart.
In one sense CO-19 has brought the world together in that we’ve all suffered in many of the same ways, with sickness, being locked down, businesses closed, shortages of basic commodities, and shortages of income. Friends, neighbors and acquaintances all around us have more needs than usual these days. All of us have ample opportunities to help those in need.
Sometimes the “wise and understanding” among us are blind to others’ needs all around us. After eating out, we drop a dollar tip on the table, or maybe two if we’re feeling generous. Who knows how many needs those who wait on us are dealing with, or how crushing those needs may be?
Much wisdom comes from the minds and mouths of children. If we stay tuned in and listen, we may even hear the mind of God through children. These days America in particular is being distracted by all the little identity groups scrapping to be heard and to get their fair share of the pie. Politics! Fake news! Bah humbug! We’re all fed up with it!
But, one boy has been thinking about those in need, and wondering why we are so blessed, yet hearing all the complaining. “It’s more blessed to give than to receive.”
Daniel L. Gardner is a syndicated columnist who lives in Starkville. You may contact him at PJandMe2@gmail.com.