Thursday, August 23, 2012

When Serving Becomes Sacred

I love how when God gives you the opportunity to serve Him, he often uses that service as an avenue to challenge you and grow you.  Our family was blessed to do a community service project called Step Out and Serve for the second year in a row.  Just like last year, we were "sent out" to help a nice gentleman clean up his yard and get it ready for fall. After a summer of drought, his yard, like ours, needed a little work and, with some health problems, he just isn't able to do all the work himself.

Now I will admit I'm not the best at yard work.  Sure I can mow the yard and plant a garden, but I have a few fears that keep me out of tall grassy areas.  Knowing the task ahead of us, I had been praying all week that God would take away my fears and that he wouldn't have me "encounter" any of them face to face.  You know like last year when the kids showed off a garter snake!

My desire was to serve this family with my family's sweat equity, but to jsut do so in a safe and fearless way.  Well, God has a sense of humor and He also has a way of showing me that I can trust him even when I'm out of my comfort zone.  As soon as Miss M and Miss A and I start tackling tearing down the garden patch, a snake appears in the grass. I calmly asked a nice young man helping us to "remove this little pesky friend" and I moved on.  Of course, two more snakes are still in the weeds and, once I uncover them, I see a little mouse right in front of my shoe.  Guess you could say God got my attention.  I wasn't there for my comfort, but for sharing Christ's comfort and love with others.

The second and much more amazing lesson that God taught our family that day was that He desires to give everyone a hope and future. A young boy who lived down the street from where we were working came and asked if he could help us.  He told us he wants to be a Mower when he grows up.  Over the course of the day, we were able to ask him about his family, his school and his dreams.  We talked about how maybe he should think about being a landscape architect, a person who does the planning and design for gardens and lawns. We talked about going to college and how he'd need to work hard in school and keep up his grades. My husband showed him how to use the mower.  They walked back and forth mowing the lawn together.

No one had ever told our new friend about landscape architecture, and while there is no shame in mowing lawns for a living that day, I could see a little spark go off in his head. He saw that there might be something big in his future, that he could really be anything if he just works hard and stays in school. So in addition to sharing with him the love that God has for him and spending some time showing him some skills for life, we gave him a taste of some of the dreams that God might have for him in the future. Who knows what might happen.  P plans on staying in touch and connecting with our friend again.  He's going to work with the school to make sure that things are going well academically for this little boy.

I love how God uses an afternoon of cleaning up a yard to spread a little bit of love around. It was also a great way to model to our kids how God uses the messy and uncomfortable things in life to make an impact.  There is something sacred about seeing the mundane as holy,and I'd say that our messing in the dirt that day was a holy experience!

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