What Can I do for You?
A page ripped out of a coloring book with bold strokes of crayon running over the picture as a get well card. A six-year old using his entire body to hold the door open for his family and the one coming in after them. A handwritten thank you for the meal given to her family.
From a very young age Reformed parents teach their children to serve others. Why would they do this? To gain the compliments of others for such thoughtful children? In order that when the kids get older parents can relinquish some of their own responsibilities? Let’s hope not! More likely it is that they know and want to instill in their children that serving others is a way of showing love and thankfulness—love for the church and thankfulness to God for including them in it. Unselfishly giving of your time and energy for the good of others creates bonds that unite the church.
For some, serving seems to be just a part of who they are, it flows so naturally. For others, it takes conscious thought and effort. For all of God’s children it can and should become a way of life. We must follow Christ’s example. He served (think of his washing the disciple’s feet).
Excuses quickly come to mind why you don’t think you can or should have to: too young, not enough time, too shy, don’t know what I can do, plenty of others in the church to fill the need. But God has placed you here in his church. From the perspective of a young person, God shows you opportunities to fill needs that no one else sees. He gives you the strength and time to be a huge blessing to his church.
Evaluate how you use your time. When you have blocks of free time each week, what do you deem as most important to fill that time? How can you carve out a little time each week to ease the burden for, bring joy to, or connect with a fellow believer? It doesn’t have to be hours each week. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a weekly commitment, but if the opportunity arises and you have the time available…in love for God, for the benefit of others, and for the humbling of yourself, why wouldn’t you do it?
In order to serve, you need to see the need. To see the need, you need to be involved with the church. Don’t go from pew to parking lot. Stick around after the services. This may scare you, as you don’t know anyone and really have no idea what to say if someone were to approach you. To help you become more comfortable, go through the church directory. Learn everyone’s name. As you read the bulletin or scan social media sites, you will recognize names and become aware of specific needs or reasons to celebrate with them.
Your church also has many volunteer opportunities available for serving: nursery attendants, ushers, valet parking attendants, writing to a missionary family, making meals/baked goods, doing yard work, playing piano/organ, visiting the shut-ins/widow/widowers. You cannot do it all, nor does God require it. As there are many different needs, so there are many members with various gifts. God equips you with specific gifts and abilities to use in his service.
- Do you have a knack with young kids? See if Sunday school teachers are needed. Find out when societies meet for the parents in the church. Offer to watch their kids during that time so they can go together. If there is a young girls or young boys group in your church, volunteer to help at one of their meetings.
- Have you been given patience and a soft spot for the elderly? Visit them to break the monotony of their day and ease their loneliness. Ask them about their life. Talk to them after church services. Offer to drive them to and from the Young People’s Soup Supper or other events. Sit by and talk to them at these events. Make them a meal or baked goods. Take them out for coffee. Remember them with a card or personal greeting on their birthday.
- Are you able to put together thoughts and ideas, transferring them from mind to paper in an organized fashion? Read and write a review for a book in your church’s library. Write an encouraging note or email to lift the spirit of one who is struggling and feeling overwhelmed with the circumstances of life. Write an article for Beacon Lights. Send a message to a missionary and his family or a family (young person) on the mission field.
- Have you been gifted with a sense of humor? Look for one who is traveling a dark path who could use some laughter to brighten the way. Think of random acts to bring a smile to one feeling left out or discouraged.
- Do you have leadership qualities? Organize a few groups to visit the elderly on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, contact the deacons to see if there is work a group of young people can help with—maybe a day to do yard work for a family in need or annual clean-up around the church or parsonage. Be one to engage others to participate in the discussion during young people’s meetings.
Opportunity to show love and service can simply be taking the time to remember others by acts of service. Remembering that we are a body that rejoices with those who rejoice and weeps with those that weep (Rom. 12:15). If you don’t see where you can help, pray. Pray that God will open your eyes to opportunities and also give you the initiative to act on it. Pray for those in your church. By keeping them in mind you become attuned to their needs, and ways to bless them may present themselves.
You are a member of Christ’s body. You are a necessary part of that body. You have a place and purpose in it at that this time in your life. There are things you can do that no one else can. For the good of his church and to show love and thankfulness to him, make serving others a priority in your life even now.
Send an encouraging note to the person waiting for surgery or recovering from surgery. Hold the door for the family coming in behind you. Yes, if you’re not artistic, even get a coloring book and color a picture to bring a smile to one who is not feeling well. You will be amazed at how something that to you seems like such a small gesture (and doesn’t take much time) can have a huge impact on someone else and how it strengthens the tie that binds us in Christian love.