If you think back to the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), one of the themes is whether or not we are willing to notice the needs of others. The priest and the Levite “saw” the badly beaten man, but they didn’t want to acknowledge the man’s needs in any way that might require them to actually get involved and provide assistance.
Many Christians go through their daily lives in a similar fashion. They may see a need someone has, but find ways to rationalize the fact that they don’t get involved with any number of seemingly valid reasons. Yet those who have the needs not only continue to have a crucial need, but they may also miss out on an opportunity to learn about Jesus or have their faith in God strengthened.
What if you trained your children to be different? To not ignore someone’s needs, but seek out that knowledge? To not only pray for someone, but also put in the effort to get involved in meeting that need? There’s a fun activity you can do with your children, that can begin laying the groundwork for their service to others in life.
Pick an area to explore, like your neighborhood or some public place where you are likely to encounter a lot of people. Explain to your children the challenge before you go. Start by reading or telling them the story of the Good Samaritan. Point out how the priest and Levite acted almost as if they didn’t actually see the man. Explain that often we can act the same way. We look the other way, so we don’t have to get involved. Today your family is going to be different. You are going to look for needs and meet as many of them as you can.
This activity is actually a scavenger hunt of sorts. Perhaps you notice a neighbor hasn’t picked up their paper from their driveway. You can move it to the door they use to save them a few steps and brighten their day. Perhaps another neighbor hasn’t had an opportunity to rake their leaves. If your family worked together, you could rake a yard in just a short time. (You may want to ask permission first, if you think the neighbor might get upset.)
Sometimes the little things – like holding open a door or thanking a worker for doing a great job – can make a person’s day brighter. Your family can bring a little light into their lives. Other times, the project may require a little effort on the part of your family. Occasionally, your family may notice a need that is too big for your family to meet. Can you brainstorm ways to get the need met anyway? Perhaps involving other families or your church or finding non-profits or agencies who can help.
Be creative. Do this regularly as a regular reminder of how God wants you to serve others. Encourage your children to look for similar opportunities at school or work each day. Make sure your family is the Good Samaritan and not the priest or Levite.