by Kim Allen, Director of SHINE Children's Ministry
Have you ever had too much help? You know, the “help” when you four-year-old offers to sweep? Or maybe when your first grader wants to run the weed-eater? I think every parent can identify with that feeling of wanting your child to acquire a skill but just not today. Today, there are too many other important things to get to and we can put that off until next week. Or next year.
I’ve often wondered why little kids always want to help. I’m sure part of it is their natural curiosity. Part of it is wanting to be right under your feet all the time. But the older I get, the more I think that God made us this way. Could there be an innate desire to serve, given by our Creator, and with that serving comes joy? Children cannot articulate this idea but we all know the sense of satisfaction that comes from helping.
This is not the same as when we begrudgingly lend a hand (PTA guilt, anyone?). I’m talking about when we choose to serve based on our calling and passion to love others. This is the service to which Jesus calls us. This is the service that probably won’t benefit us directly in any way. This is the service that loves our neighbor as ourselves.
Sometimes this service is our absolute delight! We can’t wait for the next time to do it because it is so life-giving. But sometimes service requires great sacrifice and we receive joy through hard-fought obedience to something that is inconvenient or expensive. Whatever the case, when our hearts are truly serving, God blesses us with a joy that this world cannot give.
The holidays usually inspire parents to seek service opportunities for their children. Maybe it’s the realization that our consumer culture has hit an all-time frenzy and we recognize our children’s need to understand that money doesn't grow on trees. Perhaps we want them to see that others have less and need our help. Regardless, serving with kids requires time, the missing ingredient for most harried parents.
We’ve gathered some ideas on simple ways to let your little helpers offer their helping hands. Don’t try them all; just choose one. Savor it! And let the joy of the Lord welcome you into this holiday season.
Family Serve Day at First Pres on November 18. We’ve created this special opportunity to help teach families about caring for the homeless, including building care packages. Drop by anytime between 9am-12pm in Lee Fellowship Hall. Register no later than Nov. 10 for free childcare for three year olds and under so that you can focus on your older kids.
Operation Christmas Child: National Collection Week, Nov. 13-20
Nathaniel’s Hope: Serve a family with a special needs child
Care Packages for Military Service Members Overseas
Project Linus: Blankets for children in crisis or trauma
FaithServes: Check out First Pres’ mission partners for ways to connect
Visit a retirement home and bring milk, cookies and homemade decorations
Care for a single parent’s children so they can go Christmas shopping
Pull weeds in an elderly neighbor’s yard
Ask your children who and how they would like to help!
The Breadbox is our Children's Ministry email. This monthly publication arrives chock-full information about SHINE, but also tips and resources on how you can disciple your small people.