Have you ever seen a child’s face light up at the sight of sprinkles? Give them cake, and it’s a nice treat. Add sprinkles and it just jumped a thousand points on the awesomeness meter.
I’m a sprinkle lover myself. Everything’s better with sprinkles! Sometimes I add sprinkles to my children’s oatmeal, just to see their eyes brighten at the sight of something necessary turned suddenly sweet.
Coffee is a necessary staple in my life. I appreciate my coffee several times a day! On special occasions (or really bad days) I add sprinkles to it. I don’t need sprinkles to enjoy my coffee, but a swirl of whipped cream and sprinkles on top can make my whole day better.
Sprinkles aren’t necessary. They don’t add nutrition. They don’t fill up hungry bellies. They’re just extra. Extra isn’t necessary. Is it?
We are preparing to move to Central America and run a Christian orphanage full of kids whose needs are so basic it’s scary. Food. Clean clothes. Medical care. A safe place to sleep.
If those needs are met, we First Worlders are tempted to call it good, thinking, “That’s enough. It’s better than what they’re used to, so they’ll be happy. Better is enough when they’re just trying to survive. Better IS extra.”
And while, yes, that’s somewhat true, I tend to politely disagree.
An abandoned little boy needs a bed and a roof over his head. He will be happy with that. It will be more than he’s used to. He will thank you for it. But what if you add sprinkles? What if you add clean sheets in his favorite color? What if you give him a fan to cool him while he sleeps? What if you fluff his pillow and tuck him in at night with a smile that says “You’re important to me”?
An orphaned little girl needs clean clothes and her hair brushed. Give her an old jean jumper and a comb and she will smile at you in appreciation. She will enjoy being taken care of because its more than she’s used to. But what if you add sprinkles? What if you make her her very own dress that has only belonged to her? What if you braid her hair and put a flower in it? What if you give her a hug and twirl her around and tell her she’s precious in God’s sight and yours?
Sprinkles aren’t necessary for life. But they are necessary for a sweet life.
My personal ministry plan in Honduras? Add sprinkles. Lots of them. Because every kid should know that a life filled with Jesus isn’t basic. It’s sweet.