It’s that “outreach” time of year again. Perhaps it’s because many really believe “Santa is Watching.” We just finished up some form of Harvest Party or Trunk or Treat for Halloween. Now we will turn to food baskets and Christmas gifts for the “less fortunate.”
Now before you accuse me of being a “Scrooge,” I am not against helping the Body of Christ reach the least, the lost and the lonely, especially during the “holidays.” I certainly am not against those in need receiving a special touch this time of year. Anyone who knows me will tell you I feel like we all need to feel a little “spoiled” every once in awhile. In other words, let’s give extravagantly. Where I get hung up is on the approach.
I hate “Outreach,” because that is how we see it- as an event. We mark it on our calendar and a couple of times of year we tell the world what we accomplished. We gave out X number of plates of food or reached X number of shut ins or saw X number of shining happy faces get gifts.
We love to quote Matthew 25:35 & 36 when the Lord says this, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” He is talking about a lifestyle, not an occasion.
As we enter this season I wonder if we can see it as an extension of who we are anyway. This is a great opportunity to meet a hurting and aching world that would love a little “Holiday Cheer.”
As we look forward to the “Season of Giving,” I just wonder if we can approach it differently by asking ourself these questions?
If I Get NOTHING Out of This Would I Do It Anyway?
There is a way of serving that is really more for us. We say that it is about “the Lord.” However, take a look at your heart. If you don’t get even a “Thank You,” “no satisfaction,” nothing at all,” would you still serve? We want the answer to be “YES,” but is it really?
Do I Give or Remove Dignity From Those I Serve?
There can be an attitude of “you need this,” sometimes when we give. In what you are doing, does it allow the person to feel empowered? If you give something are you looking down on the person as “lesser, even if not intentionally?
Is This An Extension Of Who I Am?
It can be easy to point to those “events” as the time to get out and “Do Something.” As long as we have the attitude that we can “show up” and then “go home,” our selfishness stays intact. We can’t MAKE anyone be selfless, but we can show service is often about seeing the hungry, thirsty & lonely DAILY.
So go for it! Serve meals on Thanksgiving and wrap an extra present for a child whose parent is in prison this Christmas. Show a little extra love and then on January 2nd keep it up!
Thanks for loving students,