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One of my goals this year is to teach my children to love service. I do service in many ways almost daily but I do not always involve my kids … or explain to them why we are doing something. If you look for ways to give back or serve you will be surprised how many opportunity’s come your way. Saturday was our families day to help clean our church building that we attend every Sunday. Waking up on the weekend and going to clean is not always my idea of fun, but my kids were super excited that it was our turn again. (Matt was at work so he wasn’t able to come.)
Matt’s Sister came to visit so I had an extra pair of hands to help me get the kids dressed and in the car. We were doing good on time but I did not want to be late. On the drive there I talked to the kids about service, what it means, who we were helping and why we were cleaning the church. Just then I saw a man on the side of the road with his hand is his pockets just standing there with no coat on. My first thought was dumb kid…. where is your coat! Then I realized he didn’t have any shoes on either, and his feet were covered in mud. Back in the field behind him I spotted his SUV up to its axles stuck in the mud.
I was in a hurry to get to the church on time so I drove past thinking I am sure he has called for help and someone is one the way to help him. Plus I am bit leary to stopping to help a total stranger with my kids in the car. But something was different this time, and I quickly turned around to go see if I could help him out. I pulled up and realized this was not a man.. but a teenage boy. I asked him if he had anyone on the way to pick him up, he said no. So I asked him if he wanted to use my cell phone and call someone, once again he said no he just moved here 2 weeks ago to live with his sister and did not have or know anyone to call. I then asked him how long he had been standing in the cold, and he said about 20 minutes. He tried to flag people down to help at first but then just gave up….
My heart sank this poor boy had been out in the cold for 20 minutes and no one had stopped to help him. I teased him a bit about being in his PJ’s and not having shoes. I told him I could give him a ride to his house, but he said then he would be stuck there and still not be able to get his SUV out. I then told him that we were going to clean our church and I was pretty sure we would be able to find someone with a 4×4 to help pull him out. After talking a bit I realized he went to the the same church we did when he lived in Wyoming, so he hopped in my van and off we drove to the church with a muddy stranger aboard. While waiting for help to come he pitched in and helped us clean windows and sweep.
It was a good lesson for me, often we are so busy on our journey to “do good” in this case clean the church that we drive right past opportunities to help others. But I am pretty sure the Lord would rather have me help one of his children in need, instead of having spotless windows at church. Once back in the car on the ride home it felt good to once again talk to my kids and discuss how we were able to do random acts of service. As my little ones would say ” Mom, it was fun picking up that Muddy boy and helping him get out of’ the Mud”