Thursday, July 5, 2007

Jesus Loves the Little Children

Lord willing, in less than a month I will have the tremendous privilege of serving with a team of women (and a few men) from my church in a Jamaican orphanage. Part of our team preparation includes reading a short book about the life of Amy Carmichael. As I have said before, Amy Carmichael is woman whose life and testimony for Christ I greatly admire. The book is entitled Amy Carmichael: Let the Little Children Come and it chronicles her ministry to Indian children at the turn of the 20th century.

Though she has become, to some, a great hero of the faith, she was not admired by her countrymen, or the native Indians around her. The caste system in India created much disdain for the temple children and for little girls in general, often scorning her and calling her work “demeaning”. But for some, she was considered a great blessing, and was frequently asked to speak in churches in her area, though she almost always turned down opportunities to travel away from the children. While reading the other day, this section stuck out to me:

But Amy knew that if she reared Indian children to be strong Christians, they could do more for Him among their own people than any foreigner ever could. She would be multiplying herself over and over in the lives of the children, helping India evangelize India.

For 50 years she taught, rescued, mothered, and served nearly a thousand Indian children, saving them from the horrors of temple prostitution and idol worship, many times at great risk to her own health and life. She wanted India to know the Savior, and she knew that this was only possible through much toil and work.

So much of the Christian life is about perseverance. And in a day where everything is expected to be quick, easy, and painless, a self-less, Cross carrying life, like Amy lived is completely foreign to much of our culture.

Amy’s prayer was answered. To this very day, the Dohnavur Fellowship (which Amy started) still stands, and is run by Indian women. Her work was not “demeaning”. It was a picture of the Gospel, and our own adoption into the family of God. She did not do it for fame, she did not do it for power—she did it so the little ones would know Jesus. James tells us that “religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:26-27). It is pure and undefiled because you get no external return on investing in the lives of orphans and widows. They are helpless. Even our Savior, Jesus Christ, rebuked those who did not love the littlest ones and allow them to come near (Matthew 19:13-14). It is not cool, easy, or powerful to be seen taking care of children, let alone talking to them. But God makes it very clear to us that children are to be welcomed, especially children who have no parents.

Taking care of the poorest of the poor, in the name of Jesus, reflects the Gospel because we too are the poorest of the poor. We were dead in our sins and orphans, but God redeemed us and made us sons of God (Ephesians 1:3-10). May God be pleased to raise up a generation of men and women in the humility and perseverance of Christ, to go to the lowly fatherless children, and point them to the perfect heavenly Father.


sonja said...

Courtney, I have enjoyed reading some of Amy Carmichael's books over the years. Elisabeth Elliot's biography of her was especially used by the Lord to teach me the realities of taking self off the throne. The book is A Chance To Die. I have your trip marked on my calander and will be praying for the Lord's hand on you during that time. Sonja

cdt said...

Thanks, Sonja. The book by Elisabeth Elliot is actually the first one I ever read about Amy Carmichael. The Lord used it the same way in my life as He did your's.

Thank you for your prayers.