Sold Out Servants!

Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant will also be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. 
John 12:26
I spent most of my weekend at a children’s ministry retreat. I was so blessed to have the opportunity to attend and spend quality uninterrupted time in worship and renewal. Those of you who work in children’s ministry or have children who attend services with you can understand that these times are few and far between. I am very passionate about children and spreading God’s love to them, however, it is important that we are also feed spiritually and in christian fellowship. Because if we are not full we can’t overflow to them. 
One of the comments that jumped out at me from one of the speakers is the difference between a volunteer and a servant/minister.  I’m not speaking about a tittle but an attitude and ability to make a difference. It is sometimes hard to find people to help with projects, that is a given. But when the reality that what we do matters in an eternal sense people should be jumping at the opportunity to spread God’s love. This thought lead me to think about our future generations…. Are we raising our children to be sold out servants? 

A servant heart starts young…
It is never to early to teach our kids to serve others as Christ served us. Even the littlest hand can help! Serving others is a two fold. It obviously helps those you are serving know that they are loved and appreciated, not forgotten. It spreads joy and Christ’s love to them. But it also helps give the servant peace, an appreciation of things that they have, and opportunity to feel needed and significant which children desire, and a ministry opportunity. Many countless things are gain by serving and being served. 
As the holidays approach we often have many opportunities to help those in need. But as time passes those obvious opportunities fade and we often forget that the need exists. In this post I am going to attempt to share some ways to start serving and remain serving.
Food Banks/Meals
We are lucky to belong to a congregation that puts a high emphasis on servant-hood. All year we have a food pantry which supplies needed items to families within the community. We try to get the kids involved in shopping for items that they would like to donate and explain that this is sometimes the only way for families to get food. 
Weekly our community holds a meal for those in need and the churches rotate in preparing the meal. I involve my children in the preparation and delivery even if we are unable to stay and serve. 
Our church also hosts “Evening Of Hope” which is an event where those in need can come and receive a food box containing everything needed to fix a traditional holiday meal. We also have a clothing closet full of clothes for them to take as needed, family pictures, medical screenings and love! 
Operation Christmas Child – This is a great organization which delivers “shoe boxes” full of toys and other supplies to children of need in other countries. As a family we usually shop for children around the age of our own. We let them go to the store and pick out items that they would like to receive and explain that they are sending gifts to those who do not have the same opportunities as they do. 
Angel trees/adopt a family – Many communities have similar programs that allow you to anonymously provide clothing and toys for Christmas to families. You pick a tag for a individual or family and purchase some of the items from their wish list. You then drop them off at a determined location for dispersing.
Christmas Caroling – many organizations travel to nursing homes in the community and spread some holiday cheer through children’s voices. This allows the children to use there talents to lift the spirits of those around them. 
Other Holiday Ideas
Halloween – reverse trick-or-treat… We live in the country and never get trick-or-treaters so we make goodies and take them with us when we go. We make sure to go to the houses of some of the elderly church members and give them treats instead of receiving them. 
May Day – May baskets are almost a dead tradition but one that we still hold onto. We make baskets and fill them with candies and treats along with a small bouquet of flowers. We then deliver them to the widows or our church. I love the interaction between the young and the old. I think that it is beneficial on both sides. 
Easter baskets – again taking every possible time to deliver goodies to those who are older or shut in.
Random Acts Of Kindness – these don’t have to be elaborate things. But little gestures to let people around you know they are appreciated without drawing attention to yourself. I love the ideas from “What a Ride” blog that I found via Pintrest. They make their birthday a day to celebrate others! The post gives several examples from leaving treats for the postman, to taping $ to a pop machine. 
Whatever mode you use make sure that you are doing it to further the love that Christ has for all of us. Not to bring glory or appreciation upon yourselves but that you always point to the true source of love. Then you are creating an legacy of servant-hood!

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