Monday, January 21, 2013

Be The Change

Emma, My Inquisitive Child

“Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love." - Martin Luther King Jr.

Over a family pancake breakfast this morning, Boss was explaining to the children about Martin Luther King day. Jack was oblivious, focusing fully on his pancakes smothered in butter and syrup. Kate could not get past the fact that there was a holiday named Mark and Luke and King day. She was thrilled that her new brother would have a holiday named after him! Ha! But Emma, my ever inquisitive one, was full of questions.

Why are people sometimes treated differently? Didn't God make everyone? Why would somebody hate and mistreat somebody else, simply because of the color of their skin?

She wondered all of these things aloud, and it was a good opportunity for Boss and I to talk to her about the sin that can overcome our hearts when we do not treat other people the way that we would like to be treated. We talked to her about loving others unconditionally, regardless of whether or not they are just like us. We talked with her about loving people because they are God's handiwork, every single one of them, even if we sometimes might not love how they act or behave. And I took the opportunity to show her how God is so good at using his people, sometimes against all odds, to make a difference in this world, just as he did with the life of Martin Luther King Jr. I encouraged her to always look for ways that God might want to use her to make a difference, big or small, throughout her life. I told her that love is the very best way to overcome hate in this world. And  I told her that service to others is one of  the very best ways that we can demonstrate our love.

Our family has been talking at length about 'Be Seen (for Christ) in 2013'. We have been talking about what we want that to look like for our family, both as individuals and as a family unit, and one way that we want to be seen in our community this year is through acts of service to others. The Bible makes it clear that Christ came to serve, and a heart of service is something we want to instill in our children, as well. We simply want to teach our children to be the hands and feet of Christ.

We have been discussing with our children that service can wear many different hats. When many think of giving to others, they think only of giving financially. Though for our family, giving to others financially is not an option during this season, so we have had to be creative! Even if there are no dollars to spare, we can always give of ourselves, our time, or any other resources we might have. I want my children to always remember this! God can use our lives in a variety of ways! For the little people in our family, service might simply mean getting a glass of water for a brother or sister who cannot reach the cups, or helping mama by retrieving a diaper and wipes when they are needed (I stress often to my children that charity must first begin in the home!). For our older children, service might be doing something nice for a friend if they see a need, or working along side daddy and mama as they work to serve others. For Boss and I service to others might include helping to feed the inner city church once a month, babysitting for a friend who just had a new baby and would desperately love a date night with her husband, loaning a neighbor our tractor during the warm summer months because his is broken, or offering to pray for someone who is struggling (and then actually following through in praying for them!).

Martin Luther King Jr. was right. Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve! From toddlers to the elderly, we all have gifts from God to offer back to the world. If we want to see continued change in our world, we have to decide to be that change. We must teach our children to be that change. It must begin in our homes, and then spread outward. Mr. King says that all we need is a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love. That is all we need to serve others and be the change we wish to see in this world. Our family has taken that to heart, and we are ready to Be Seen in 2013.

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