At a recent meeting of our small group, we talked about praying for several young families who have lost their jobs and are in need during the holiday season. Prayer requests quickly turned into specific ways to serve them – our church family. Our "Jerusalem."
Couples caring for couples; families caring for families – it's a natural way to love others. We planned to get these families Christmas gifts and holiday food, to show them we care and to be a witness of God's love for them.
The biblical mandate to be Jesus' witnesses "in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" is inspirational, but what does that have to do with serving together? Everything!
Serving is all about being a witness. It's about setting aside time in our busy schedules to share God's love with others. It's about looking beyond your to-do list, your calendar of events and your dirty floors to meet the needs of others in your church, your neighborhood, your community and your world.
My husband, Dale, and I serve as greeters and Sunday school teachers in our local "Jerusalem." Through these small acts of service, we grow closer as a couple, get to know our church family better and enjoy being used by God to touch others' lives. Truthfully, I'm not sure who's blessed more – those we serve or my husband and me!
Yes, it takes time, a little planning and a bit of sacrifice, but serving together deepens our relationship, causes us to communicate on levels we normally wouldn't and helps us look beyond our own little world to the needs of others. There are many, many ways you can be a witness in your church/"Jerusalem." Here are several ideas:
- Teach Sunday school together or work in the nursery.
- Mentor a younger couple or new parents.
- Serve as church greeters, perhaps together with your children. Your kids will learn how to greet others, and those who are greeted love seeing them.
- Offer to baby-sit for couples in your church. Parents with younger children are often in desperate need of "alone time" for shopping or a date night.
- Have a few church kids over to make gifts for their parents.
- Have a cookie-baking fest with a few couples in the church, then share your baked goods.
- Offer to help a single person decorate her home for Christmas; no one wants to decorate alone.
- Teach adults and/or children your woodworking, knitting or other craft skills.
- Teach younger couples about once-a-month cooking, organizing or other practical skills. Don't forget; men like to cook, too.
- If you're mechanical or a handyman, help a single mom or older couple with car maintenance or a fix-it project.
Doing these things together is a witness of couple teamwork and a definite blessing to others.