Of Big and Little Acts of Service

As I shared in yesterday’s post, love compels service … which leads me to a new trail of thoughts.

I wonder, is my dad only interested in the big things that I can do for him? Are the doctors with a dozen years of education who correctly prescribe just the right medication more valuable than the nurse who correctly draws his blood?

Incredibly, just now, while I’m writing this and waiting to board a plane back home, with my dad still in his hospital bed, the flight attendant announced that our plane is having some mechanical issues.

I realize how critically important a good pilot is, but realistically is a good plane mechanic any less essential?

I know that answering my dad’s questions about faith and asking God to hear my cries for mercy truly are valuable acts of service, but do I believe that sitting in silence, holding his hand while he sleeps, is valuable in God’s eyes?

Surely reading Psalm 23 aloud and talking about the hope of Heaven with Jesus is of immense value, but how about cutting up my dad’s food into manageable bites?
Sometimes as a stay-at-home, homeschooling mama, it can feel like the daily chores, loading the dishwasher and washing the laundry and cooking the dinner is worthless … and yet I hope that I can do my work as unto the Lord, pointing my children’s eyes to the blessings of dishes and laundry and food … and of work.
Sometimes as a Christian speaker and writer, it can feel like reaching one hurting soul isn’t as important as speaking to the multitudes.
So today, let’s remind ourselves that God values our little acts of love and service, as well as our big ones. He sees us. He cares. And He is able to multiply our fish and loaves and mites and talents as we offer them up to Him.

TWIG

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:10-11)
“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” (Romans 12:3-8)
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24)

Is your Life Self-centered, Child-centered, Husband-centered, or God-centered???

This past week, I have been studying Matthew 23 along with the other ladies in my Community Bible Study group. In this passage, Jesus pronounces upon the religious leaders of His day (the scribes and Pharisees) a series of seven woes. Six times Jesus calls these self-righteous men, “hypocrites.” Rather than leading the Israelites to pursue God with pure hearts, these religious leaders had hearts full of greed and self-indulgence, performing law-keeping deeds in order to be seen by others. Ultimately, their lives were SELF-centered, despite any external appearance of GOD-centeredness.

This Tuesday, I was listening to my favorite podcast, “Family Life Today.” In this episode, Dennis Rainey was sharing some words of wisdom with the new “Family Life Today” hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson. Mr. Rainey was explaining how easily most moms can be drawn into a CHILD-centered life, where their “family solar system revolve[s] around the kids.” Such truth in just 7 words.

My mind immediately began drawing a picture of a solar system with my children taking the place of the sun, and my husband and me revolving around them like Earth and Mars.

Mr. Rainey and his wife, Barbara, then shared about the importance of keeping the marriage relationship strong, so that the marriage is prepared to outlast the children. If our world is revolving around our kids, what’s going to happen when they grow up and move out?!

I’m afraid that in an effort to not be child-centered, some marriages, then become husband-centered, where the whole family revolves around making dad happy. Rather than the wife pleasing her husband as an outflow of her allegiance to God, pleasing her husband becomes the very center and focus of her life. This, too, is a messed-up solar system.

In my mind I had a new vision of a solar system. This solar system had my husband and I spinning together, arm-in-arm, while God remained the ever-present enormous shining sun whose gravity held us both. In this solar system, both of our lives revolved around Him, not our kids, and not each other.

Like the first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, “What is the chief end of man?” I began asking myself, “Kim, what is the chief end of your life? What does your life revolve around? What is that gravitational force that holds your life in order? Who is in the center of your life’s solar system?”

Is my primary goal to “glorify God, and to enjoy him forever”?

Yes. Yes, it is.

TWIG

Boredom Busters – part 2

Lest you think that I only assign my children chores when things are a little slow over the summer, let me share a few of my other ideas.

I am incredibly thankful for the blessing it is to home school, but I do look forward to a summer break!  Our goal is to work on schoolwork from August 1 – May 1, but this doesn’t always work exactly.

When the majority of our schoolwork finishes up, I sit down with the kids to help each of them write up a list of about 10 summer goals.  (I admit this is the first summer in many years that my adult children have not done this with me!)

These goals include family activities (like going swimming or to a movie), as well as getting together with friends and projects (like cleaning out a closet or painting a picture).   Each week I try to make time to accomplish at least one of each of the kids’ goals for the summer.

During the school year, I keep my own list of goals for the summer dated in May on my Google calendar.  Then, when summer comes I can start working on them.  These goals range from house upkeep and cleaning projects to writing projects to field trips to homeschooling prep to lots of catching up with friends that I’m unable to do during the school year.

In the summer, we continue our daily Bible study as well as math and book reading, plus plenty of outdoor play.  But the kids are still frequently at a loss for what to do when I’m busy on one of my many projects.

So, this year, I’m trying a terrific idea a friend posted on Facebook.  The kids and I each wrote several activities on popsicle sticks and marked them with a time (like 30 minutes or 60 minutes or 2 hours) .  That way when we had a little time or a lot of time, we could pick one out.  This has worked well so far!  Thank you, Suzanne!

What do you do in the summer???

TWIG

 

 

What to do when you hear, “MOM! I’m BORED!”

This DARLING little girl feeding a bottle to a baby pig, is none other than my very own mom.  I like to imagine that when she was growing up on a working farm, she didn’t have many opportunities to sit around with nothing to do, though I imagine that’s probably not true.

But, in today’s American entertainment culture, I find my children often “bored” and looking for something to do.  Are any of you like me where you can’t think of something quickly for your kids to do when they’re “BORED?”  This is particularly prevalent in the summertime when our days are not quite so filled with schoolwork.

So, several years back I came up with this list and posted it inside a kitchen cabinet.  Do you have any ideas you’d like to add?  I’d love to hear them!

You can download the list in Word format by clicking here:  BOREDOM CHORES LIST

BOREDOM CHORES LIST

Computer desk

Straighten and dust Fireplace/Mantle

Dry sink

Kitchen cabinet fronts

Inside fridge

Inside microwave

Vacuum 1st floor

Foyer

Pick up stairs

Vacuum Stairs

Mop tile

Sweep floor

Ceiling fans

Front porch and walkway

Clean outside patio

Pick up backyard

Dog poop

Laundry room

Baseboards

Doors

Light switches

Refill soap and toilet paper

Organize bathroom cabinets

Clean windows

Fold Laundry

Sort & wash laundry

Clean laundry room

Take out ALL trash

Clean under beds

Clean closet

Sharpen pencils

Organize school bookshelf