A Moment for Mission
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth.” — 2 Timothy 2:15, NRSV
To succeed, children need stable homes, quality health care, ample nutritious food, good schools, safe neighborhoods, and access to resources and opportunities that enable them to reach their potential. For many children, however, these basic building blocks for success are out of reach.
Because fixing systemic inequities begins with children, the Children’s Defense Fund focuses especially on poor children, children of color and those with disabilities. The CDF works with the U.S. Congress and agencies within the federal government to advocate for federal policies that improve children’s lives. At the state level, the CDF pushes for policy reforms through six offices that collectively represent nearly 40 percent of all children living in poverty in America. Young people, faith communities, decision makers and community organizations are trained and equipped to become local advocates for children across the United States.
The National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths is always designated for the third weekend of each October. However, many places of worship participate on alternate dates. Children’s Sabbaths may involve all or some of the following elements:
- service/worship/prayers/faith community gatherings focused on children, justice and the moral, spiritual and ethical imperative to nurture, protect and seek justice for children;
- educational programs for all ages; and
- advocacy and hands-on service activities to meet immediate needs of children in the community and raise a voice for justice.
By participating, people of faith join a larger movement for children and amplify the voice of faith communities calling for justice.
What does it mean to do your best? Studying hard in school? Doing your chores at home? Helping to care for younger brothers and sisters?
Timothy, one of Jesus’ followers, said, “Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won’t be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple” (2 Timothy 2:14-18 MSG).
If you do only some of your homework and then go outside to play, is that doing your best?
If someone asks you to wash the dishes and you “forget” about it, is that doing your best?
And if your parent asks you to entertain a younger sibling and you ignore their request, is that doing your best?
God wants us always to do our best. We do this by following God every day.
Loving God, as we strive to present ourselves to you, may we become workers who have no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining your word of truth. We love you. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost — God of love and compassion, the need for your presence in this world is often overwhelming. Confrontation and division are everywhere we look: in communities, in our countries, in our church, and in our world. We have endured much, and others have had to endure so much more. The apostle Paul reminds us that if we endure, we will reign with Jesus. May the gifts we give help all your children endure in these strange and challenging times. In the name of Jesus, the Christ, we pray. Amen. (2 Timothy 2:8-15)
The Children’s Sabbath weekend, sponsored by the Children’s Defense Fund, engages places of worship across the United States in focusing prayers, worship, educational programs and action on learning more about the urgent problems facing our nation’s children. Some celebrations are community-wide, multi-faith gatherings; others take place in individual places of worship.
Long-term, year-round action might include strengthening an existing program in your place of worship, starting something new or joining with other places of worship or community organizations to make a difference in the lives of children.
After four decades of advocacy, the Children’s Defense Fund knows that changing the system to serve children better takes time, and children across America need help now. Programs that change the odds for children empowers young people to excel today and make a difference tomorrow. CDF Freedom Schools®, for example, reach more than 12,000 children annually. Because Freedom Schools are staffed primarily by college students of color, CDF is building two generations of change-makers at the same time.Adapted from Our Approach—Children’s Defense Fund (childrensdefense.org) and Children’s Sabbaths Celebration—Children’s Defense Fund (childrensdefense.org)