Supporting a child is the best way of sowing seed into the next generation. Whether through practical help, prayer or mentoring, you can have a positive influence on the children in your family, neighbourhood and church. Extend this into formal sponsorship of a child overseas, and the effects are transformative and far-reaching. Changing the whole world might seem impossible, but transforming a child’s community is within your reach.
Green: Write down a list of children, young people and their leaders in your church and pray for them.
Amber: Take your niece, nephew, godson or goddaughter out for a treat or a catch up. (Or, if this is not possible at the moment, book one in for a few months’ time.) Let them know you’re supporting them in prayer too.
Red: Consider sponsoring a child through World Vision so that someone born into a deprived environment can receive education, healthcare and a better future. If the cost is prohibitive, share the sponsorship costs with your home group or wider family.
‘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 NIV)
One of the most natural desires we have as humans is wanting to be seen, known and loved.
We all need someone to believe in us – to show up faithfully and choose to shine generously into our lives. Can you think of one person who believed in you, who told you that you matter, who helped you get to know Jesus?
For me, that person was a vicar at the church where I have been a member for many years now. When I was a young man setting out and making my big life choices, he always had time for me. Whatever he thought of what I did, and the choices I made (and many of them were not great), he never appeared to judge me. He was a fantastic role model, relentlessly putting Jesus first in his life. Even now, though quite frail, he is a brilliant example of believing in the power of prayer and unconditional love to transform the world around him.
One person changing another is a powerful thing. A relationship full of little, consistent acts of love inspired by God’s love for us. What’s amazing is that even our smallest act of choosing to believe in each other makes a world of difference when those acts are in Him.
You were created to pursue these relationships. To be in a family and a church community. To go after Jesus with everything you are – encountering His presence through connection with others. And these relationships are a two-way street. We mutually build each other up.
At World Vision, we believe that people in the UK have an amazing opportunity to walk alongside children living in some of the toughest places in the world. To believe that a better future is possible for them. By sponsoring a child, you can change their life – as well as the lives of many more in their community, demonstrating God’s love by giving access to education, clean water and healthcare. You also start a journey that invites you into a closer walk with Jesus, responding to His call in Matthew 25 to stand with those less fortunate than ourselves.
When we choose to believe in one another, we each have the power to change lives for the better.
Mark Sheard is the interim CEO at World Vision, having previously served on its board for nine years. He lives in Ealing with his wife, Lois, and two dogs. He has four children who have now (mostly) flown the nest. He is a member of St John’s Church, where he is a licensed lay minister.
Mark has also been appointed by Archbishop Justin Welby to the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England and currently serves in a variety of roles.
Today’s charity is: World Vision
World Vision UK is an international charity devoted to improving the lives of the most vulnerable children.