What could you buy with $809? Surely a lot of things come to mind. Perhaps you’d save some of the money and the rest would go towards a new fall wardrobe. If you’re a practical person you probably already calculated how many car payments or how much rent that would cover. The bottom line is there are a lot of ways you could spend $809, the real question is what would you actually do with it?
For 9 year-old Taylor Rymer the answer will blow you away. Forget rainbow loom kits, goodies from Claire’s, an easy-bake oven, or whatever else 9 year-old little girls typically spend their dollars on. In lieu of gifts for her birthday this year she asked for donations towards Daraja, and the grand total raised came to (you guessed it!) $809. With it she bought 26 tubes of Vaseline, 47 bottles of body wash, 76 bottles of lotion, 6 boxes of children’s cough medicine, a $100 Wal-mart gift card, and 20 pairs dancing shoes!
Taylor wasn’t the only 9 year old opting to give gifts instead of receive them this year. Savannah Clinard has a similar story. She collected well over 100 toiletries and personal hygiene items for us as well, packing them into a container probably weighing more than our front choir line.
What would cause two young girls growing up in a society primarily exhibiting a “what’s in it for me?” mentality to place the needs of 23 children, who don’t even live on the same continent, before their own? We like to think it’s because those who encounter Daraja are compelled to embrace Daraja culture – it’s a culture ultimately of Jesus, a culture of worship, love, & service.
This morning’s devotions focused on the first time the word worship appears in the Bible. It was in Genesis chapter 22 when Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son. Before leaving with Isaac, it says in verse 5:
“[Abraham] said to his servants, ‘Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
Worshipping God always involves sacrifice. It’s giving up the things that steal your heart from Him, sometimes they’re material but more often they’re spiritual or emotional. It’s laying down the thoughts that distract you and prevent you from fully experiencing joy. Along with sacrifice, worship involves choice, and it’s a choice you have to make daily sometimes hourly. After all, worship is a lifestyle not just a task to be checked off once a week on Sunday’s To-Do List.
We can learn a lot from the account of Abraham and Isaac, but we can also learn a lot from Savannah and Taylor. With enviable, child-like faith they gave up their own desires and chose to worship God rather than themselves…on the one day of the year meant to be focused on them, no less! They understood sacrifice and chose to act. We are so thankful, and pray that through our choices we can reflect hearts of worship like theirs.
The stories of sacrifice and generosity are being continued… Currently, Audrey Smith along with her friends Kailey and Marisa are encouraging all of their friends to give to the ministry of Daraja for their Birthday celebration too! We are so grateful for their hearts!
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If you would like to support our choir in a similar manner or are interested in donating to our wish-list please go to http://darajachoir.org/product-category/the-daraja-wishlist/