Seek to Serve the Lost, Lonely, and Needy
I can distinctly remember the smell of sweat. He hadn’t shaved in who knows how long and his clothes were probably older than me. The choir was singing Amazing Grace and from our pew I watched people politely trying not to stare.
In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35
I was 10 years old but remember that Sunday like it was yesterday. My dad made us leave early for church that day.
He needed to pick up a “friend” who needed a ride. We drove a few miles in the opposite direction of the church and stopped at an intersection. My dad rolled down the window. “Hey Steve, I’m here to make good on my promise.” The guy looked stunned. “Well, I’ll be,” he murmured. Unlocking the door, dad reached over, and shoved it open for the man to get in.
Dad, Mom, my two younger brothers, and I were headed to our small town Southern Baptist church with a homeless man in the car. WHAT?! That was the only time Steve ever came to church with us. He wasn’t on that intersection the next week (probably worried my dad would drag him along to Wednesday supper or something). I pray that Sunday sermon resonated deeply with that man but I know without a doubt God left a mark on MY soul that day and a new appreciation for my father, watching him serve the less fortunate in the name of Jesus.
Life gets in the way of good intentions. As schedules fill up with events, sports, obligations…let’s look at a few ways we can serve the lost, lonely, and needy as a family.
- It’s NOT About Me. Take the focus off of “I want…I need…” and make it about other people. Look for practical ways to serve as a family. Times my family did this were impactful experiences for me as a kid; it took the focus off of stuff and my desires, and made it about the people we were giving attention to..
- Be the Hands and Feet. I have many memories of my family serving at homeless shelters or food banks TOGETHER. We spent numerous spring breaks and weeks during the summer serving on mission trips together. Paul, speaking to the church at Ephesus, tells us “35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35
- Make it about HIM. Sometimes it’s easy to serve because it looks good. It’s easy to serve, with the expectation of a thank you. But what about serving ONLY to be like Christ, to shine the light of Jesus in hard to reach places? Isaiah 52:7 reads, “Beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!”
Shift the focus for your family and ask God to show what y’all can do for others. We are called to be like Jesus, and Jesus came to serve. Who have you gone out of your way to help recently?
Kids, who needs your help today? Ask your parents to sit with you and make a list of ways you can serve others as a family. Accomplish at least 1 thing on the list per month.