When Marta Sears' young daughter came to her with a big dream of raising funds for the poor, she writes, “ I started panicking. I didn't want to squelch my daughter's compassionate heart and willingness to dream big, but I didn’t want to drain our savings account either. And I couldn’t see a lemonade stand bringing in $2,000. As I shared the dilemma with my husband, we remembered something that IJM president Gary Haugen said when he was telling the story of the feeding of the five thousand. He pointed out that, in the midst of an overwhelming need, Jesus didn’t ask the disciples or the little boy to do the miracle. He simply asked them to give him what they had, which in this case was the boy’s lunch of five loaves and two fish.
My husband and I wondered about what Gabriela’s lunch might be. What did she have that she could give to Jesus and ask him to do a miracle with?”
In her family’s case, they realized her daughter’s “lunch” was her art. The family made Christmas cards from one of Gabriela’s drawings –and managed to raise $3000, exceeding Gabriela’s lofty goal, and enabling her to help meet the needs of poor children and families she may never meet.
Marta writes, “As I’ve learned about modern-day slavery I’ve thought about what my lunch might be. I’m pretty sure it includes my time, relational strengths, and ability to communicate through writing and speaking.
“This year Jesus used my lunch to help me write a chapter in a parenting book about justice, lead a Loose Change to Loosen Chains campaign in my daughter’s fourth-grade class, manage the Oregon IJM Advocacy Facebook group, and help organize two advocacy trainings for over 100 other Oregonians to learn about getting involved in fighting human trafficking.
“As I consider the upcoming new year, I know I want to be intentional about offering my lunch to Jesus regularly. In my own strength, the best I can do is try really hard. But when I offer it all to the God of Justice, he miraculously multiples my efforts beyond anything I can imagine.”
Marta Oti Sears is a volunteer who helps lead IJM’s advocacy work in Oregon. Her reflections are included in the recently released book Just Moms: Conveying Justice in an Unjust World (Barclay Press).