The Joy of Serving

By Cameron Montefu I can’t believe Thanksgiving is right around the corner-- and who doesn’t love this time of year?!!  This is when we make it a point to count our blessings.  Here at Mission Hills,  our goal over the Thanksgiving season is to be purposeful in showing God’s love to others. We focus on giving.

This year my fifth graders have taken on the responsibility of making blessing bags for families at Mission Hospital (through Ronald McDonald House Charities).  I’ll be honest, the first thing they did was chuckle when I told them what organization we were partnering with.  All those fifth grade brains initially took in was “Ronald McDonald”…ha!  But what impressed me the most was how serious they became when I began explaining what it was about and how we were going to use this opportunity to serve the families of hospitalized children.  My students became silent, wide-eyed, and instantly attentive.  Sick kids?  Exhausted and hurting families?  That was an attention grabber.

Throughout our conversation, I watched young hearts begin to break for people they’ve never met or even seen.  The empathy in the room was palpable.  My kids were counting their blessings.  Chatter quickly began over what they wanted to donate and how cool it was going to be to do the project.  Mission accomplished!  When an act of service is a “have to,” a joyful opportunity is clearly missed.  When it becomes a “want to,” we’ve tapped into the heart of it all.   I often refer to the words from one of my favorite worship songs and make it my prayer.  I encouraged my students to do the same:

“Heal my heart and make it clean Open up my eyes to the things unseen Show me how to love like You have loved me

Break my heart from what breaks Yours Everything I am for Your kingdom's cause As I walk from earth into eternity”

Don’t we all want our eyes opened to what breaks the Father’s heart? To see opportunities to be the arms of compassion to the hurting, lonely, and unsaved?  We are blessed to be a blessing, and the joy of serving others is immeasurable!

When these families receive a blessing bag, they will find it filled with small comforts, encouraging words, Bible verses, and prayers. The love of Jesus.  Every part of this project is a small seed being planted for the kingdom of God -- in the heart of each student and each recipient.  We don’t know who is meant to receive each one, but God certainly does, and I believe with all my heart that He can do great things with one little bag covered in prayer.

Are you looking for ways for your family to serve?  Try getting plugged into ministries, community outreaches, or global missions through your church.  Think about getting involved in organizations like Ronald McDonald House Charities, Jessie Rees Foundation, Orange County Rescue Mission, or Samaritan’s Purse.  Seek out your local food bank or a soup kitchen.  You can even participate in walks or races that support foundations for cancer, autism, and other worthy causes.  Just say yes and watch God do amazing things in and through you.