This idea has been swirling around in my head for a while.
Reading in Matthew 25:31-46 About the coming judgement. The King separates the sheep from the goats. He tells the sheep, “…for when I was hungry and you gave Me to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you invited Me in; naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me.” They answer Him asking when did they do these things. The King’s response was down in verse 40, “Truly I say to you, inasmuch as you did it for one of the least of these My brethren, you did it for Me.”
I have often thought about this and how we (America) send missionaries to foreign lands (before I get blasted with responses…I believe in missions and we support several missionaries) yet, “our brethren” right her in our city are left to their own devices. On one hand, because of pride, many of us never ask for help when we need it. We may ask the government for help…we put a lot of faith in our government for help. What happened to “look to the hills from whence comes my strength.”? We have friends who run a ministry for the homeless and they struggle to raise support for their ministry (shameless plug for Lost and Found ministries…click here) but we have no problem sending money to build houses in South America. I get it. As Americans it is very easy to throw money at an unseen problem but the homeless man we see every day on the corner seems able-bodied and should get a job.
That’s not what this is about.
I went to the grocery store yesterday. I didn’t buy any creamer because we just went on a family trip (spent a lot of $$) and payday is on Friday. I bought milk for the children. This morning, while I was making my iced coffee, I ran out of creamer, I used milk. Moms do it all the time. We quietly put someone else’s need before our own.
Around Mother’s Day the Hubs told me he wants to give me $200 to spend on myself (clothes,getting my nails done, whatever I want) but he was sure that I would take the cash and buy something the kids need. I would be tempted…I really would like to get my eyebrows waxed…they are out of control. As parents that’s what we do….we buy our kids new clothes while we wear the same thing year after year.
I’m not sharing this to toot my own horn. These are quiet things most moms do every day.
I’m presenting the idea that there are times when the thirsty person we need to give a drink to is our family members.
Our niece is with us once again. She is three years old, the same age as my daughter. She needs stability; she needs love and kindness and discipline; she needs to be clothed and fed. She is a little smaller than our sweet, well-nourished baby so, we could give her hand-me-downs, that’s okay, but I have already purchased a few brand new items for her because she deserves to have some things in her life that are new and especially for her…thus, no creamer, and that is okay. Because sometimes we need to clothe someone in need.
Talking to my sister about this recently and how we fuss at our children to clean their rooms. She told me that she made a decision to just go in and help her twelve year old with his room without complaining about it. It is serving.
Often, we think of serving as it relates to our church or community and overlook opportunities to serve our own families.
We have extra people living in our home…almost always… from foster children to extended family. I’ve given up on my house being super clean until my kids grow up. (I don’t really care if it’s super clean if I’m honest…things that matter to me are relationships, books, art…it’s okay). Because of our situation, we often have dirty dishes in the sink. I don’t like doing dishes. Never have, probably will not develop a desire to do dishes. A few months ago the Hubs volunteered to do dishes…he offered to make sure dishes get done. I appreciate this very much; it is a small act of service that I appreciate. Does he do all the dishes? No. When someone does something for you, then you don’t mind doing things for them. When the head of the household serves it creates an atmosphere of serving in the home.
Maybe your elderly parent lives with you…you have taken some in. Maybe you are providing food for them, you have fed someone who is hungry. Maybe you are a foster parent, and you are clothing someone who was naked. Perhaps you have gone to prison or jail to visit someone…all these little things you do every day, even for family, count.
They matter. They may seem small to you but they are big to someone.
You matter; you make a difference in someone’s life. YOU!
When you serve your family, begin to treat it as if you are doing these small things for Jesus, Himself.
As you change your attitude at home and see yourself as a serving person, it will not be as difficult to see yourself serving in your church, your child’s school (homeschooling moms do all the volunteer work at their school), or in your community. Just because you do not serve every single Sunday at your church does mean you aren’t contributing. Contribute where you can, when you can as much as you can. It’s not about being the volunteer of the year…it’s about quietly and graciously serving. And it’s not what is seen that is important. Of course everyone sees the worship team and pastor…that’s a given. Your prayers for them matter just as much as what they do. Rocking the babies in the nursery so a mama can attend service is HUGE! Believe me…it’s HUGE to that mama.
Sometimes it is as simple as giving a smile and a compliment to the cashier at the grocery store. Or picking up a piece of trash out of your neighbor’s yard.
Even if no one else sees, God sees.
Be a blessing to everyone, everywhere and start at home.