Why Do You Do It?

bars of gold

Do you remember Black Hawk Down? It’s the story a helicopter shot down over Mogadishu, Somalia about 20 years ago. One of my favorite scenes is near the end of the movie when Eric Bana’s character Hoot shares the following:

When I go home people’ll ask me, “Hey Hoot, why do you do it man? What, you some kinda war junkie?” You know what I’ll say? I won’t say a word. Why? They won’t understand. They won’t understand why we do it. They won’t understand that it’s about the men next to you, and that’s it. That’s all it is.

The motivation behind people’s words and actions have always interested me. That’s why Hoot’s monologue is appealing to me because he asks and answers a big question, “Why do you do it man?” In other words, “what is your motivation?”

As adoptive and foster parents we find that most people are kind and supportive of our family. What is interesting though is that every now and then we will encounter someone who needs to comment about our family and question our choices. I’m sure you’ve met this person person too. They think they know you and feel like they need to question your motivation.

What is our motivation?

There are some people who assume that the makeup of our family is due of some deficiency in us. “Are you doing this to fill a void in you?” they might ask like we chose adoption and foster care because it completes us. The opposite is true. We recognize that there are hurts out there and we have the capacity to love those kids. Besides, I’m not sure we chose this but rather feel called and compelled. We feel like the master went away and left us with some talents and it is our job to use what he gave us (Matthew 25).

We’ve been told that our kids are lucky because we rescued them. Hearing that makes me cringe. First, because I hate the way it sounds. Second, because I couldn’t bear the thought of one of our kids hearing someone say that about them. Third, because it is simply not true. This is not a rescue mission. It is an extension of Christ’s love. We always tell people that the Lord added to our family by adoption and birth and we are blessed because of it.

I can see the temptation to see foster care as a rescue mission. The kids are in our home because their parents hurt them or couldn’t care for them. They are in our home to heal. They are in our home to learn how to trust adults again. And they are in our home to help us grow. I am so thrilled to see the compassion that our kids have for other people. That compassion was grown in them because there have been children in our home who have needed it.

I have always thought that we have adopted and we foster because that is the way God wired us, it’s what he called us and equipped us to do. But my opinion changed a little yesterday.

One of our elders preached yesterday and the theme of his sermon was contentment. As I sat in my seat I realized that there have been many times when I have not been content with our family. Sometimes it’s because they aren’t progressing (physical or emotional) as fast as I want them to and sometimes it’s because I feel overwhelmed. But I need, like Paul, to learn to be content. This is my family and these are our issues.

It was during the sermon that I realized the parable of the talents takes place in our lives everyday. God gave us the capacity to love and not using that capacity would be like burying our talent just like the wicked servant. We have to use the gifts God gave us. We have no choice. It’s the only way to live a life full of joy and contentment. I realized something else yesterday. I long to hear Jesus say the words He said to the first two who doubled what He gave them, “Well done good and faithful servant. Come and share your master’s happiness.”

“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. – Matthew 25:14-27 (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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