“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).
Sometimes life gets heavy. Tragic things happen in the world every day. We hear about them constantly and experience them in our own lives – and they are very real. It’s easy to think about these things and begin to lose hope for humanity. Is God working in the world at all?
Even though it doesn’t always feel like it, I continue to believe He is. There are people all over the world who are combating evil and working for God’s kingdom “on earth as it is in heaven.” Children and teens are developing new technology, working toward peace and security, and helping people in their communities – yet we rarely hear about it. We’ve barely heard of Ryan Hrelijac, who decided at age 6 that he wanted to make clean water accessible in remote areas of Africa. By age 7 he had saved enough money by doing chores and speaking publicly on clean water issues to have a well built in northern Uganda. Now, 13 years later, Ryan’s Well Foundation has completed 667 projects in 16 countries. We’ve hardly heard of Katie Stagliano who, in 3rd grade, brought home a cabbage seedling from school which grew to 40 pounds. Her single cabbage helped feed more than 275 people at a soup kitchen. Now at age 12, Katie has her own foundation, Katie’s Krops, which has donated thousands of pounds of fresh produce to organizations that help people in need in South Carolina.
Not only are children and youth doing good things in the world, they are doing good things right here in our community! Children are volunteering at retirement homes, feeding the homeless, cleaning our beaches, and any number of acts of service that they commit to their Lord without garnering any recognition.
As Christians, we are called to support one another in the work of sharing the Gospel, the Good News of Christ. It can be a discouraging task when faced with the reality of a broken world. The Apostle Paul reminds us through his letter to the Philippians that there is always cause for rejoicing. He encourages us to think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. As the church, the body of Christ, we should uplift one another by sharing positive experiences and stories. We should talk about the good work God is doing in the world!
St. Michael’s Family Ministry would like to respond intentionally to Paul’s injunction by sharing a story of service and hope with our church family every month. We are looking for stories about children and teens in our local community, whether or not they are members of St. Michael’s, who are making a difference. They could be volunteering at the library, cleaning an elderly person’s home, raising money for a charity, or anything in between. As a community we are called to encourage one another; this is one way we can do just that. If you know of a child or teen who is making a difference, we would love to share their story!
As the psalmist says, “I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13). These stories need to be told, not for the sake of competition or attention, but for the mutual encouragement of the body of Christ. We need to hear that God is at work in the world, for indeed He is!
Email Becky Gleason with stories or ideas you’d like to share!
This article was written by Becky Gleason.