Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. ~Ephesians 6:7
A few days ago, I arrived in Minnesota to visit my sister. We haven’t really had a true visit since my 40th birthday so it was long overdue. Considering the time constraints, we devised a plan for making the most out of our weekend. One of the purposes for this weekend was the release of her second book. Her daughter wanted to throw her a party to commemorate the event, which didn’t leave a ton of extra room.
Use what you’ve got.
As we were organizing our schedules, she realized that this same weekend was the weekend her family volunteers at the church soup kitchen. Two events would take a chunk of our visit time from us, one we could potentially get out of. She informed me that if I would rather not do the soup kitchen, she could probably get out of it. I didn’t even hesitate in my response.
I have a mission mindset when I go places–and this was no exception. Jesus came to serve and I too have a desire to serve. I was given plenty of opportunities this weekend to do just that. The post isn’t meant to brag but instead to give my readers the chance to see things differently, to identify needs and help fill them for others. You can be the salt and light, servant to others, even in the everyday ordinary routines of life.
No Mission Trip Required!
My first serving opportunity came in the form of doing dishes. Traditionally, in my sister’s house, the dishes are her kids’ job. I wasn’t altogether sure it was still the habit but I knew that someone would be blessed with the break if I did them. Putting away most of the dishes, at least the ones I knew where they went, lessened someone else’s workload.
The second serving opportunity began midday Friday. Her daughter, the hostess for the book release party, had some sort of stomach issue the day before and was not feeling her greatest. In an effort to make sure it wasn’t something someone could catch, she was kept at a lengthy distance from the food. Quickly jumping in as a substitute, I was my sister’s sous chef, chopping veggies, baking goodies, making punch, decorating, and cooking appetizers. It took nearly four hours to have everything ready for her guest arrivals but it went off without a hitch.
Next serving opportunity was the start of Saturday. We drove across town to a church to prep, cook, and serve a lunch meal to about 80 homeless people. Our menu of choice was breakfast burritos, hash browns, fruit cup, and dessert bread. I cooked all of the meat, warmed up the precooked eggs, assembled the burritos, and towards the end, helped package up the boxes. We were there for about 3 hours but time flew by because our spirits were filled with joy.
Find creative ways to serve.
Saturday night was my final serving opportunity. I gave my sister and her husband a night off. Usually when I come to visit, I try to babysit for her so that they can go out on a date. This time around her daughter was gone to work at church camp and her sons are too old to be babysat.
I had asked many people about things to do in her city and even googled it. Coming up with several options, I read off a list of things I could take the boys out to do. This may not seem like a big deal to some but for them it was bigger than usual. She tried to stop me, knowing what it could cost, because she didn’t want me put out. Unbeknownst to her, I had budgeted for big!
While I was on a date with my four nephews, my sister and her husband were able to go on their own date for a couple of hours. They do go on dates pretty regularly but don’t typically have extra things for their kids to do while they are enjoying date night. The boys and I went to Adventure Zone. We were going to do rock climbing, mini golfing, play arcade games, the batting cages, and play laser tag. Unfortunately, most of those activities were temporarily shut down or our time ran out.
Bless and you will be blessed; serve and you will be served!
Although we didn’t get to do everything we set out to do, we had a fun experience. When we discovered that things were not working, I approached the ticket counter to inquire about the situation. I had already purchased the package that let us do all of those things. The gentleman apologized for the inconvenience. He stated he couldn’t refund my money but wanted to give me five wrist bands to come again another day–for the same attractions!
Now the boys will have another opportunity to enjoy a fun outing, even if I am not their date. They could even wait until their sister returns and all go together, enjoying sibling time. Their parents could enjoy another date night at the same time. Win/win.
I get great joy in serving others, outside the box. Yes, you can, and should, serve in the mundane. Wash someone else’s dishes. Clean the bathrooms for the church. Carry groceries for an elderly person. Help your friends move into their new home. Babysit someone else’s kids, without expecting cash, gifts, or even a thank you. Watch someone else’s kids before they ask! Drive someone to the doctor. Bring a meal to a person who has been in the hospital, lost a loved one, or even just because you want to surprise them for no reason.
Jesus, the King of kings, washed peoples’ feet. The least you can do is take out the trash. I promise you, your reward will be great. You may feel it internally because the Spirit connects with your giving spirit. Or you may receive the “well done, thy good and faithful servant” when your serving time finally ends.
Serve as though you are serving the Lord. He deserves all that we can give…and more!
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