Friday, May 11, 2012

I Said "Good-bye"

I said "goodbye" to Francisco, Brandon, and Diego Tuesday. They are the three boys I had the privilege of tutoring this year at Esther Jackson Elementary, our church's partner school. And I was as proud as ever of them as we reviewed all they had learned this year and talked about what their plans were for this summer.

I've done a lot of things over the last nine months. But devoting an hour each Tuesday to helping these boys read and write will stand among the best things I've done.
I figure I made the short trip to Esther Jackson about twenty-five times. On twenty-five days I paused to put my agenda on the back-burner in order to put the future of our humanity on the front burner. For twenty-five of my last 6,000 hours, I invested in the academic and social growth of a struggling student who will never "pay me back." (Doesn't seem like a lot of time does it?....Makes me wonder why so few in our country carve out time for something as invaluable as this.)
Why do I, why does my church, invest in Esther Jackson in this way? It's not for the money. We don't get paid. It's not for the fame. There is none. It's not to convince others of our worldview or religious convictions. It's not so that one day we'll reap some tangible reward.
It's simply to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our world. It's because there is no greater investment than the investment of love. It's because investing in the growth of another is investing in what lies at the heart of Jesus himself. 
I am thankful for the opportunity I had to tutor this school year.  I'm thankful for many reasons, but partly because as I was saying "goodbye" to Francisco, Brandon and Diego, I realized again how right Jesus is when he says, "It's more blessed to give than receive (Acts 20)" and "the kingdom of God belongs to such as these (Matthew 19)."
Those two sentences of Jesus summarize my tutoring experience this year.  Each Tuesday as I met with Francisco, Diego and Brandon over some spelling words, some reading books and some lively conversation, I was mega-blessed, and I sensed I was connecting with the heart of what matters to God.

Have you ever thought about investing your time and heart into something like this?