You walk to your neighbor’s house and ask for a cup of milk to complete your dinner recipe. Instead of receiving a cold glass of 2 percent, they hand you a gift card to Best Buy and close the door. While the gift card is certainly a nice gesture, it doesn’t help you complete the meal. Were they even listening to your request?
One of the most essential, yet under-appreciated, components of life is the practice of listening. In American culture, we have been mislead into thinking that productivity is defined only by action. When we see problems, we often spring into motion without discernment. And I confess…I’m definitely guilty of this.
However, sometimes the most constructive decision is to sit quietly and listen.
Parents learn how to best shepherd their children as they join them on the carpet and patiently listen to their simple and quirky questions. Businesses grasp the needs of their customers when they seek out feedback. Doctors are able to provide better care when they are silent and really hear the scope of their patients’ pain.
Food for the Hungry (FH) has learned that listening is a critical step in helping the most vulnerable. Rather than just making assumptions about their needs or struggles, our staff build relationships with pastors, leaders and parents in the community. In the context of those relationships, they learn about the strengths and weaknesses of the region. They learn about the community’s hopes and dreams. They discover the root-level problems that are holding the community back from reaching their potential.
Listening. It allows FH to effectively walk with a community in helping them to overcome all forms of human poverty.
It is this principle of listening that excites FH about the ministry of child sponsorship. When you sponsor a child, you are not only providing our staff with the resources to help this child blossom; you are also communicating to this child that you want to listen to their thoughts, ideas and prayer requests.
The magnitude of this opportunity cannot be overstated. We all want to be listened to. We all crave that others would want to know us and value our journey. This child is amazed to discover that a person in a foreign country wants to hear their thoughts and learn about their life.
As you listen to their story and the relationship deepens, you are motivated to pray for their family. And unlike our absent-minded neighbor, we are thankful to have a Heavenly Father that is an amazing listener and is faithful to hear and respond to the cries of our heart.
You can share His example with a child by sponsoring a child at Food the the Hungry.