Tonight, my friend April and I made a short road-trip to listen to Katie Davis tell her story. Katie Davis is extraordinary. But what I didn’t expect was that the evening wouldn’t be about Katie Davis at all. I knew my expectations were askew when Platt opened the service by reading a few words from the Preface of When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert:
The average North American enjoys a standard of living that has been unimaginable for most of human history. Meanwhile, 40 percent of the earth’s inhabitants eke out an existence on less than two dollars per day. And from inner-city ghettos to rural Appalachia, poverty continues to inflict pain, loss, and despair on the North American continent itself. Indeed, the economic and social disparity between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ is on the rise both within North America and between North America and much of the Majority World (Africa, Asia, and Latin America).
If you are a North American Christian, the reality of our society’s vast wealth presents you with an enormous responsibility, for throughout the Scriptures God’s people are commanded to show compassion to the poor. In fact, doing so is simply part of our job description as followers of Jesus Christ (Matt. 25:31-46). While the biblical call to care for the poor transcends time and place, passages such as 1 John 3:17 should weigh particularly heavy on the minds and hearts of North American Christians: ‘If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?’
He may have read more of the preface, but I don’t remember; my mind and heart were stuck with that part. It may be that I can’t remember because I was busy fishing in my purse for pens for the kids to use during the service, but, either way, I didn’t hear anything after that.
Anyway, I expected Katie to speak for about an hour accompanied by a slideshow featuring cute Ugandan children and Amazima Ministries. Instead, after Platt preached from 1 Timothy 6:17-19 (“Materialism is damning and dumb,” he said.), he and Katie sat for a conversation. He asked great questions and she told us the stories of how she decided to travel to Uganda on a short missions trip, how she came to stay in Uganda, how she became a mother to 14 little girls, and how her family is changing Masese one person at a time.
Here’s what inspired me: Katie didn’t set out to adopt orphans or move her entire life to Uganda in order to feed hungry people. Nope. She simply obeyed Christ’s commands to love others as she loves herself, one step at a time, one child at a time. She talked about what God is doing, not about what Katie is doing.
From Kisses from Katie,
People who really want to make a difference in the world usually do it, in one way or another. And I’ve noticed something about people who make a difference in the world. They hold the unshakable conviction that individuals are extremely important, that every life matters. They get excited over one smile. They are willing to feed one stomach, educate one mind, and treat one wound. they aren’t determined to revolutionize the world all at once; they’re satisfied with small changes. Over time, though, the small changes add up. Sometimes they even transform cities and nations, and yes, the world.
It’s easy to look at Katie and think, Oh, I could never do what she’s doing. But the beauty is that she didn’t set out to start her ministry. It just happened and grew with each obedient step she took. She’s an ordinary person who takes seriously what the gospel demands.