Have you ever found yourself in a season where circumstances or daily routine tasks have gotten in the way of your ability to help others? Is it difficult to show your family what it looks like to love like Jesus - to feed, clothe, house, give, and listen? We found ourselves in that same spot just over a year ago, and decided to stop making excuses, and to start serving intentionally.
One of my spiritual gifts is serving. I discovered early on in my teenage years that helping others gave me great joy. God developed this gift through many different experiences (including working at COCUSA!). As I got older, it became increasingly difficult to set aside time to serve. I had so many “excuses” not to host people in my home… until my husband and I helped plant a church. It was one of the most challenging and growing experiences that Isaac and I have been through together. Through serving in our church, our marriage has gotten stronger, and we have been able to positively impact people in our community together in the name of Jesus.
The Bible says…
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” (Romans 12:9-13)
This all seems pretty straightforward, right? Love God, love people, hate evil, and serve others. Easier said than done, especially when you’re juggling a job, parenthood, relationships, house maintenance, paying bills, the list goes on. But God makes it very clear in his word that if we want to love and serve him, we need to love and serve people. This is an essential principle of Christianity, and the example Jesus set throughout his entire earthly ministry.
“A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
My husband and I want to set a standard of generosity (with our time, finances, possessions and love) for our future children and let it be a foundation for our marriage. Here are some practical ways to get involved that have helped my family as we try to serve alongside each other.
Get connected within your local church.
Almost every well-established church in your area will have a ministry where you can volunteer, make donations, prepare meals, or help fulfill other needs within the church body.
Serve organizations in your community.
- Research food pantries, homeless shelters, pregnancy centers, and other non-profit service-based organizations in your community. Go grocery shopping with your kids for the food pantry, collectively help someone with yard work, or take the family to a nursing home for the afternoon to brighten someone’s day. Help is always needed, and there are a lot of family friendly ways to serve men, women and children in need!
- Simply take time to be intentional with the people in your life. Opening up your home, offering to buy someone’s coffee, or making yourself available to others is the first and foremost way to set an example for your kids and show them how to love and serve others throughout daily life.
How does your family serve together? Give us more ideas by sharing a comment!