In a few weeks, my 16-year-old son, Drake, and I will be taking a trip to Peru to join a group called Help One Now. It is a Christian organization focusing on providing hope, help and the Gospel message to orphans and hurting children.
Willie and Korie Robertson have been really involved in this ministry for the past few years and invited us to join them on this outreach. I’m really looking forward to diving into the middle of the real world with my son, instead of just sitting here in our little bubble that we’re so blessed to live in. More than anything, we are excited to love on these kids and share the Gospel with them.
I think it’s incredibly important for parents to do outreach with their kids so they see that their parents don’t just talk a good talk, but they really put their feet on the ground to do hands-on work for the Kingdom. I don’t think everyone has to bounce around from country to country to do this; I don’t think everyone is called to do that. There are tons of opportunities for us to serve the poor and marginalized within our borders.
A few Christmas Eves ago, our freezer was overloaded with hundreds of pounds of extra meat from our meat company. So we got together the men from our men’s group along with their kids and boxed up boxes and boxes of meat packages to share with others. We then went to the church to get a list of families in need in our area and printed out messages about why we wanted to help them. In case we weren’t able to interact with the families, they at least knew the purpose behind what we were doing. We could share Jesus with them through these letters. Then out we went.
Late that night we got back to the house for a time of debrief. It was amazing to hear some of the crazy stories that came from that time of giving. One family, which no one in our group knew about, particularly stood out to me. A couple — grandparents — had 10-12 kids in a small house, five of which were their daughter’s kids whom she could not care for. In addition to their grandkids, they had a number of other displaced children and foster kids they were caring for. As Christians, they trusted in God and answered His call to provide for these children in need. But they worried about how they could feed them, care for them and get them the medical attention they needed. The men in our group ended up giving a huge amount of meat to this family that was so desperately in need of a Christmas miracle.
These stories are not uncommon, and they’re right in our backyard. These are the poor and needy that we can and should be serving. This mission work was within 10 miles of our house and it was here that we saw mission impact happen.
It doesn’t matter where Kingdom work takes place, it just needs to happen. We need to get our kids involved in serving and becoming aware that there are others in greater need than they know. It’s the thought of taking “self” out of everything. This is the same military-type lesson we as coaches try to teach our baseball players: Be more concerned about the person on your right and left than about yourself. It’s amazing to see the direction your life takes when you stop focusing on yourself and start focusing on others.
I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in true Kingdom work while focusing on myself. I don’t think that’s possible. When I’m really wrapped up in this mission, I’m not concerned about my schedule, what’s going to happen that day or the next. It’s as if suddenly you are in a totally selfless and humble world. It’s a really amazing thing; I wish it lasted. I wish we weren’t so broken and sinful that anytime we do a missions trip or go to a conference or hear a great sermon, it would last more than just a few hours or days until we’re back in the thick of selfishness.
This is just proof that we need to wake up every single morning and ask God, “What do You have for me today?” If I don’t have this mindset, I’ll totally lose sight of the ultimate mission.
“If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” — 1 John 3:17-18
— Adam LaRoche, former MLB player
The Increase, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is a community of Christian pro athletes sharing their personal stories of the decrease of self and the increase of Christ (John 3:30). Visit TheIncrease.com for more stories and videos.