Home Outreach Leaders Articles for Outreach & Missions An Extra Thumb, Chess and Choosing Compassion

An Extra Thumb, Chess and Choosing Compassion

I don’t know why God allows children to grow up without parents, or perhaps with very bad parents.

Really, I don’t know, except for the fact that their suffering, their void, is a place where God’s permanent love and grace is able to break through.

I know God is the father to the fatherless. I also know God has called the church to be his agent of love and grace to fill the gap for kids like So Pat—kids who are marked by the devastating scars of loss and suffering. Right now God is allowing a small church in a farm town in Ohio, to fill part of the gap with soccer balls, dolls and playful banter in a weird language they don’t understand.

It’s amazing, really.

To think the God of the universe has a plan for me and for So Pat together in the same kingdom; his beautiful fish dance and my horrible running-man combined.

“Thirty, and that’s all I will pay, no more,” I said, still following wee-thumb.

“OK, you make hard deal. Thirty,” the lady said, zipping up her jacket.

That was it. I had won. The bartering was over. I pulled out my wallet and saw I had two 20-dollar-bills. I ended up giving her both. The extra thumb did its trick on me. She smiled and thanked me and proceeded to meticulously wrap my chess set in thin white paper. I think I felt sorry for her. In fact, I think I started to cry.

I have great potential for pity.

In fact, sometimes I can feel for someone with a slight lisp. It’s that bad. I remember watching a whole outdoor play in North Dakota where the lead woman had a lisp. I felt so bad for her.

Then I found out it was just an accent she put on for the drama.

Pity is really a useless emotion. The world doesn’t need pity. What pity really says is, “I have it better than you, and if you could just have it like me, you’d be normal and everyone would love you.”

I know the lady with the extra thumb didn’t need my pity either; she just needed me to treat her fairly.

I know the children at the orphanage don’t need pity; they just need clean clothes, clean water and loving adults to guide them.

They need compassion.