Anyone else into self-service these days?
- I pump my own gas into my car,
- Swirl my own frozen yogurt into a cup,
- Use the self-checkout lines at the grocery store, and
- Put my own groceries into the cart.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love when people do things for me.
- You want to make me dinner? Please do!
- Oh, you even want to bring it to me on a platter? Why, thank you!
- And you’ll clean up the dishes? You’re so kind!
But, how often do I love doing things for other people?
Sure, I do things for others. I clean the house for all to enjoy, and change the baby’s diaper 8435.17 times a day. I’ll even smile at someone walking by.
But do I go out of my way to serve specific people in specific ways? And do I really love it?
My first year of college, my mom decided to start a new tradition. She decided to start it on Christmas Eve, when everyone is still feeling all the gratitude from November and preparing to give presents the next day. She decided we would do random acts of service.
We filled boxes with oranges and grapefruits from our trees and took them to the local fire station. We got a roll of quarters and taped them to the vending machines outside the grocery store. We filled bags with goodies for the people we saw on street corners.
My favorite was this. We gathered the blankets shoved in the back of the linen closet. Our closet doors hardly closed we had so many blankets. And come on, we live in Arizona. How many blankets do we need?
We set the pile of blankets in the back of the minivan and took them to a homeless shelter. It was actually freezing that day (probably 50 degrees…) and people were outside trying to stay warm.
When we opened the back door of the van and people saw the blankets, they just started to swarm. They emerged from their huddles and rushed to our car. It was like we revealed a bag of gold or a marvelous feast.
We had maybe ten blankets to give. That seemed like a lot of extra blankets to us!
But they were gone in less than a minute…
I frantically handed them to whoever was closest to me. Each person immediately smiled and threw the old blanket around their shoulders as they walked back to their huddle.
But there were only ten blankets… and there were so many more than ten people.
My heart just broke! I wished I had a thousand blankets and didn’t have to turn people away.
I realized how grateful I needed to be that I could jump back in the warm car and turn the heater on. How grateful I needed to be for the many blankets I still had at home.
I truly loved giving that day and I truly loved serving. I wanted to give everyone everything they needed! Everything I could give!
At first, I laughed that my mom wanted to start a tradition when I was basically an adult. I even laughed at her random ideas of ways we could serve. But, I will always remember that day with the blankets. I will always have a greater appreciation for serving other people and a better understanding of how to love it.
I don’t think we only need to do grand, planned acts of service.
We need to serve simply. Daily, spontaneously, freely.
We need to remember to do things for others with love in our hearts. Maybe we need to go into the gas station and say thank you to the cashier. Or smile at the frozen yogurt girl. How easy would it be to wish the bag boy a good day?
We need to connect with others even in small ways. Not only by letting them serve us, but by serving them. Randomly, happily, and most of all, lovingly.
Would you enjoy a list of easy ways you and your family can serve this December, and all year long? Click below and we’ll send it to you!