Our family has been loosely involved with a wonderful little ministry in our area which sponsors some intriguing opportunities for service throughout the year. Most of the events center around a large shopping area in our hometown.
They offer free gift wrapping for shoppers and appreciation platters filled with goodies for the store employees during the busy Christmas season. There are free bottles of water during tax-free weekend in the hot, hot month of August. Once a year, they host a free luncheon for all of the store employees just to show them someone cares.
That luncheon was held this week, and we were privileged to have a small part in the event. For the last couple of weeks, we have visited the stores to let them know about the upcoming meal and collect their reservations. On Tuesday we gathered with volunteers from about 20 local churches and ministries to assemble and distribute the plates to the store employees.
Local churches had prepared the green beans, potatoes, rolls, and pound cake, while the kitchen staff from our area's Baptist Assembly cooked the yummy chicken breasts. It was truly a group effort as some spooned up the food, some prepared the boxes to go out, and others actually delivered them to the stores.
To each plate was attached a small card with scripture and an encouraging message, just perfect for slipping into a wallet or propping up where it will be seen. From time to time I've had these same kinds of cards standing on the windowsill above my kitchen sink. Little reminders of God's love are nice to have around.
It was a wonderful opportunity to serve, and there was sweet fellowship with the other volunteers. We were doing something for other folks, but it sure felt good, too.
It is truly an honor to serve, but that is not the message that permeates our popular culture. God wants us to be willing servants, just like His Son, Jesus. In our home, we try to emphasize seeking an opportunity to serve rather than waiting for an invitation. I want my children to know that serving others is beneficial for all parties involved.
So that's why you'll find us on the sidewalk one blistering hot August afternoon offering you a free bottle of water. You'll look at us strangely, and we'll say, "No, really, it's completely free. God bless you." It's so much fun!
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Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Philippians 2:1-4 NASB