After my post on Parents Waiting for God(ot), the question was asked, “What are some every day ways kids can serve God?” Service projects are obvious ways to serve God. I have a ton of ideas for service projects detailed in other posts or pinned on Pinterest. While service projects are great, they are often not things you can do every single day.
There are plenty of other things your children can do every day to serve God. These projects don’t cost any (or much) money or require large blocks of time set aside to do them. There is one important skill you will have to develop in your children though, to make them successful in every day service to God.
Teach your children to see people with the eyes of Jesus. Can (and do) they look around a room and immediately spot people who might need help or need someone to show them God’s love? You can help your children practice by taking them to a public place with lots of people (It can even be Church or your own neighborhood.) Sit somewhere and have them help you analyze the crowd. Did someone just drop something? Does someone look hungry or thirsty? Does someone look sad? Does someone not have enough cash to pay for the food they are buying? Does someone need to hear that the work they are doing is appreciated? As you spot people you can serve, serve them. If you struggle with this yourself, here are some situations I have seen where people could have used someone to serve them with God’s love (make sure you and your children follow all safety rules when dealing with people you don’t know):
- someone who looks lost and needs directions or a map – grab a stack of maps to the mall or tourist area and offer to give them to people who look lost or direct them to where they are going
- pick up items people don’t notice they have dropped and hand them to them – even if you have to run to catch them
- someone who looks really thirsty – give them a bottle of water or a small gift card to a place that sells drinks
- someone who looks sad – hand them a flower or a child-made card or drawing, tell them you hope they have a great day and offer to pray for them
- someone struggling with a lot of packages – offer to help carry them to their car or into the event (It always amazes me how many people will see someone at Church struggling to bring load after load of stuff into or out of the building and not even offer to help!)
- hold open the door for someone
- offer your seat to someone who looks tired (and not just the “required” elderly, etc.)
- pick up newspapers thrown in yards and place them by the door so they don’t have to walk to get them
- shovel the driveways and sidewalks of people as it is snowing (If they wait until later, it is a lot harder and the person may have slipped.)
- offer to pay for the purchases of someone who is struggling to find those last few cents in their purse or pocket
- if someone’s newspapers are piling up in the yard because they are out of town, gather them and place them somewhere more discrete
- interact with a fussy child while the parent is struggling to check out or do some other task which requires their attention (Remind your children to never touch a child they do not know. Most parents don’t mind people playing peek-a-boo or some other game to distract their child, especially since it will be your child doing it.)
- help someone up who has fallen
- offer to help people complete simple tasks that most people would consider boring – your neighbor might love having someone help her rake leaves or someone at Church might appreciate help re-stocking the card racks
- let people know it is their cell phone that is ringing (for some reason older people struggle with this and appreciate the help if it is offered nicely!)
- offer to help read things in small print for people who haven’t gotten or have forgotten their reading glasses! (you can tell by the squinting and moving the paper closer to and farther away from their face)
- offer to help older people do things on their computers (you will often hear someone older say they can’t figure out how to send an email or do some other simple computer task most teens could do in their sleep!)
- check on older people who live alone to make sure they haven’t fallen – some people get the mail service to ring their bell every day to make sure they are ok – it would be a lot better to have a friendly neighbor call or stop by frequently (you may even want to bake something and take it to them as many lonely, older people don’t eat well either)
- introduce yourself to someone new and find one thing in common with them. If they have just moved to the area or are just new to the organization or Church – tell them something to make them feel more at home (like where the bathrooms are or where they give out the snacks!)
- be friendly to someone everyone else makes fun of or ignores
- pick up trash and throw it in the garbage can
- thank everyone in retail, food service, public service, etc. who helps you or does something for you
Hopefully, these ideas will get your family seeing other every day things you can do to serve the people God places in your path every day. Once you start doing this, you will realize how many opportunities to serve God you may have been passing up in your rush to live life. Teach your children to serve God in some simple way every day. You may even want to make it part of your dinner conversation for everyone to share how they served God by helping others that day.
What are some new every day ways your family found to serve God? I would love for you to share them in a comment below. We could all use a little more help seeing the needs of the people around us.