During this morning’s service I shared the remarkable story of a boy called Joel who is ‘just’ six years old. A few weeks ago he watched this Tearfund video: [go on, watch it, it’s only three minutes long]
I don’t know what you felt when you were watching it, but something changed in Joel. He realised, perhaps for the first time, that poverty is wrong, and that something must be done about it. So he set out to do something about it. He created a ‘poor box’ and collected money from people for a few weeks – raising £7.22 in total. But, frustrated by his lack of progress, he decided to do a sponsored run to raise more money. He made a plan, wrote a little message, and with the help of his Dad he created a page where people could sponsor him online. His dad posted a message on Twitter explaining what Joel was doing, and pointed people to the sponsorship page. He set himself the modest target of £60 (his other suggestion was ‘a trillion pounds’). That was last Thursday.
Joel went to bed looking forward to his run in a few weeks time. Within a few hours, as he slept, Joel managed to raise more than £700. When his dad told him the next morning, he was over the moon, and said ‘but I’m only six’.
The Apostle Paul wrote to his young friend Timothy and said: ‘Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.’ 1 Timothy 4:12 (NLT)
Paul was clear that Timothy shouldn’t allow people to think less of him simply because of his age. He encourage Timothy to set an example to everyone else in his words & actions. Paul obviously expected Timothy to go on to do great things, in spite of his youth. I thank God that Joel hasn’t allowed his age to limit him. He sensed the injustice demonstrated in the Tearfund video and felt compelled to do whatever he could to help.
As things stand at the time of writing, Joel’s sponsorship page reports that he has already raised £4500+. His amazing story has featured on the Tearfund website and on numerous other sites have picked it up too. Take a look at #teamjoel on Twitter for more… Also, take a look at Joel’s message of thanks for everyone that’s supported him so far.
As he’s smashed his first target of £60, Joel is keen to set his sights high and go for his original plan of a trillion pounds. How amazing would it be if he could reach £10,000 by the time he does his run on 23rd June?! Better than that though – Joel now believes he can change the world, and with your help he can.
Praise God for people like Joel who, even though they don’t fully understand the complexity of the issues involved, are unable to stand by and watch people suffer.