I am inspired every time I watch the public service commercial sponsored by the Foundation for a Better Life entitled Special Athlete. The spot highlights a group of athletes with disabilities. Each one prepares to run with tremendous enthusiasm. You can see their excitement as they line up at the starting line. The announcer calls out, “On your mark, get set . . .” The starting pistol fires resounding throughout the stadium.
One runner takes the lead. Dashing to the finish line, he stumbles and falls. The other runners pass him and then one looks back. She reaches back for him with such understanding and compassion on her face. The other runners come back, helping the fallen runner to his feet and then they join arms. Together they cross the finish line arm in arm.
The crowd rises to its feet. Each spectator is touched by what has been witnessed, understanding there is something more important than winning. The remarkable song Get Back Up by Christian artist TobyMac plays in the background. What a message of hope and good sportsmanship.
I’m reminded of the scripture, Ecclesiastes 4:10: “For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.”
Every day, we serve children who have fallen beneath the burdens of their lives, children who have been abused, neglected, abandoned, emotionally orphaned, and starved. Their worlds are worlds of trauma. There are families struggling to find their ways out of crisis. At Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH), we stand ready to reach out and help pick them up. Because of your support, we are able to share how darkness can be overcome by the light of Jesus.
We can identify with the runner whose friends helped him to the finish line. We remember the times we have fallen: physically, spiritually and emotionally. We know the feeling of hope experienced when a hand reaches out to us. This Thanksgiving, give thanks to God for carrying you through the difficult times and for placing others to help pick you up.
As BCH family gathers together during the upcoming holidays, we offer thanks to God for each child, each family, each individual God has allowed us the privilege to care for this year. We give thanks for YOU who join us arm in arm to help the “least of these” get up and finish the race.
Hearing your cheers of encouragement, like those in the video cheering from the stands, warms our hearts and helps fuel our passion. Knowing you are prayerfully lifting us up girds us to tackle the many challenges we face each day.
As you gather on Thanksgiving and Christmas with your families, remember those who turn to us for hope. Remember staff members who are absent from their families so they can care for those entrusted to us. Remember, you are part of a bigger family reaching across North Carolina – a family who joins you to help share God’s love with the thousands who turn to BCH every year.
Founder of Blackaby Ministries International, influential pastor and author Henry Blackaby challenged the readers of Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God with this message: “Find out where God is at work and join Him there.”
We thank each of you who have followed God’s calling to care for hurting children and have joined us at BCH. Don’t keep the joy of giving for children and families to yourself. Share the joy with your family and friends. Invite them to join you in this special ministry.
I invite you to pray: Pray for our staff who have followed God’s calling on their lives. Pray for the resources needed to care for the thousands we serve. Pray for God’s guidance on how to be involved through your gifts of prayer, time and resources.
I invite you to give and encourage others to give: Give a gift this Thanksgiving in honor or in memory of someone who once helped to pick you up and encourage you.
Encourage your church to give sacrificially to BCH’s Annual Offering, also known as the Thanksgiving Offering. These gifts are critical!
Provide Christmas for a child or a cottage of residents.
Volunteer with BCH or NCBAM. There are work projects on every campus and many frail aging who need a hand. Volunteer to be an ambassador for BCH in your church or Baptist association. At this time we have renovation needs which total more than $3 million. Consider giving your time and resources. In-kind gifts are greatly needed and appreciated.
Let’s join arm in arm to share God’s love.
For more information on how you can help to pick up a child who needs a helping hand, call me at 336-474-1230. Remember, Christmas will be here soon. Providing Christmas for this enormous family can be quite daunting. Help us make this the best Christmas ever for those in BCH’s care as we share the gift of God’s love, hope and peace.