Tag Archives: service

Community Property

A man is called selfish not for pursuing his own good, but for neglecting his neighbor’s. ~Richard Whately

“I know you; I grew up down the road from your dad.”

I was at summer camp, volunteering as a counselor. She was many years my senior, but that didn’t stop her from teaching the next generation with energy and enthusiasm.

“Your grandma used to send food to us because my mother was ill. She even gave us shoes to go to school.”

I was blown away.

My grandparents had thirteen children. I’m not sure how they afforded to clothe their own kids, let alone the ones down the road. But their generosity was still remembered sixty or seventy years later.

I remember the professor’s wife who invited us to Thanksgiving dinner because she had once been far from home herself.

I remember the mother of a student who passed along clothes to my little guys because she had three boys of her own and knew how  quickly they can go through a pair of pants.

Even now I think of my neighbor who keeps our howling hound free of charge every time we leave town. She does it for the sake of love.

The early church had an opportunity. They were surrounded by people in need. Travelers, widows, sick neighbors, and the constant threat of famine were common drains on the community. Many of these problem people were ignored, shunned, or exiled.

But the church seized the opportunity and goodness spread.

The hospital movement owes its momentum to Christians. Orphanages developed as early as the fourth century because of Christians. Christians promoted leprosy communities, libraries, education, and safe living quarters.

What started as a small movement- share your possessions with others- became a hallmark of the Christian church.

What started as a meal and a pair of shoes for my grandma’s neighbor turned into a lifetime of serving others.

You may not think you are doing much today, but you never know where those offered shoes may travel.

Follow in the footsteps of those first Christians, wherever they may lead you. Because good deeds are remembered, and love is recognized.


I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Matthew 25:36-40 ESV

Famous or Infamous

Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody expects of you. Never excuse yourself. ~Henry Ward Beecher

 

I was dropping off my first child at college. He was going to a place he had never been before, hadn’t even visited. I, however, knew the place and many of the people.

Students and parents stood outside in the blazing sun waiting to pay bills, get assignments, make final decisions. Faculty, staff, and upperclassmen helped direct foot traffic and lend a hand where needed.

An older gentleman approached.

“Welcome.” He smiled and shook my boy’s hand.

“Thanks.” The apprehensive man-child continued reading instructions.

“This is the school president.” I introduced the man to my son.

“Oh, sorry.” He shook the now-important-person’s hand.

There are people in life you don’t expect to meet. A university president moving boxes and greeting students is one of them.

A former United States President building houses for the poor with his own hands. A real Princess who touches lepers and AIDS victims.

Presidents and Princesses are out of most people’s circles. But maybe you know a mayor who packs sandbags to stop a flood. A wealthy podiatrist who gives his time to veterans with foot problems. A lawyer who moves to a poor neighborhood and mentors fatherless boys.

When people discover that I’m a preacher’s wife, it often changes their expectations of me. I get called “Mother” a lot. When people need answers, they come to me.

There is the possibility of forgetting my true place, my true calling.

“Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.” Luke 20:46-47 NIV

The leaders of Jesus’s time were more concerned with how they looked than with the looks they gave.

They didn’t look twice at the broken, oppressed, lonely, or sick. They didn’t feed the hungry, visit the widow, or sit with the hurting.

They were too important, too above all that. Jesus said their honor would be punishment, their importance would be forgotten.

Maybe you aren’t President, Princess, Mayor, or even Preacher’s Wife. Perhaps the most recognition you get is an apple at the Teacher Appreciation Banquet.

But no matter what your status, you can learn from Jesus’s own  display of leadership.

Serve quietly. Speak kindly. Touch gently. Love completely.

Are you leading from the front of the crowd or guiding from the middle?


Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28 NIV

Saintly Bowling

bowlingI like girls who want to get up and dance and don’t mind singing in front of my family – you know, silly stuff. Some girls won’t eat in front of boys or won’t go bowling. They just want to go out and look pretty. I don’t really get that. I want someone who is up for having a good time. ~ Olly Murs

The ball wobbled right and then twisted left. Thunder echoed down the lane as the pins watched the boulder of doom roll toward them. And then the middle pins dropped, knocking over a few side pins. When the shaking stabilized, there were two pins left standing. One on each side of the lane.

I have never had much practice bowling. I don’t know the rules, except you get two turns per frame and don’t step over the line at the start of the lane. Oh, there’s also a courtesy rule that you don’t take your turn when someone in a nearby lane is rolling. You’ll get some mean looks if you do.

The only bowling experience I had as a child was Fred Flintstone on Saturday mornings followed by Bowling for Dollars. Fred danced on his tip-toes and rolled down the lane with the ball. The pros didn’t seem to care for choreography. I only stayed tuned in for them if it was raining outside.

So last week when I looked down at the taunting pins on each side of the lane I was disheartened. Fred Flintstone wasn’t going to help me here. I turned around to look at the group I was bowling with and five-year-old Hannah was all smiles. She ran and jumped in my arms.

“That was great, Mrs. Traci!”

When she looked at my roll she saw a valid attempt that ended with success. I knocked down pins, the point of the game.

I was also frustrated one day last week because I didn’t feel like I had done as well as I should have serving my Lord. I didn’t call some people, didn’t send some cards, didn’t write as much as I should . . . the list went on and on.

But then I looked down the lane at the standing pins and realized there were quite a few knocked over . . . completed Bible study, helped a sick friend, gave money to a needy individual, took care of my family . . . I had to admit, it was a valid attempt that had ended with success. My Lord was served, and that is the point.

It was when I compared my score to someone else’s that I figured I failed. Instead of listening to the taunts of the standing pins, I turned and listened to the joy of my Father.

“That was great, Traci!”

With a proud smile he opened his arms, and I jumped into his embrace. With more practice I’m sure I can improve my score. I mean, I’ve got the best coach there is. And I think he likes to tip-toe dance down the lane. Yabba Dabba Doo!


“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Matthew 25:23 NIV