Summer’s coming. You can feel it, smell it, and taste it too, can’t you? Hallelujah! You know what that means…a slower pace not having to rush, rush, rush out the door every morning because there is no tardy bell at summer camp, thank goodness. It means later bedtimes and chasing little feet around the yard at dusk as they attempt to catch their 500th lightening bug. It means throwing something together for dinner that doesn’t require using the stove so the AC doesn’t give up and give out…and thank you Lord for these little boys who actually like fresh veggies spread out before them with a little ranch or hummus for dipping. For this single mama, it also means periods of time (just as it is around the holidays) when I find myself without my kids, because they are away with their dad. While these breaks can be great for recharging the ole batteries, or time to get things done I haven’t been able to otherwise, they can be difficult because the routine is different…the silence, at times, can be deafening. There’s a hole, and it sits there and stares at me, if I let it.
Thankfully, I am fortunate to worship in a place where opportunities abound to show up and help out. Since I’m a “do-er” this fits quite nicely into those wide open spaces in my schedule over summer (or the holidays) where I feel this overwhelming urge to put something. I love a to-do list and a calendar. They are my heavy machinery. So, what’s a gal to do but sign-up for the Back-to-School event at Eastlawn, go shopping for non-perishables for the First Sunday Food Drive, and find my way upstairs on Summer Sunday mornings to greet sleepy (because it’s 9 a.m. after all), happy little faces and tell them about Jesus. “Come, children, listen to me. Let me teach you how to honor the Lord” (Psalms 34:11 CEB).
What’s even better? Often, it’s those little faces who tell me about Jesus. In fact, most of the time, they show me who He is. Jesus said “Allow the children to come to me…because the kingdom of Heaven belongs to people like these children” (Matthew 19:14). Kids have this amazing capacity to love with their whole heart. And they are not intimidated by God or loving Him. You know what else is true? For that hour, we have so much fun. And I get to give them back at the end of that hour. Hopefully they are a little more enriched when they leave. I know, with great certainty, that I am.
Part of the great success of the student ministries at SMC is due solely to the sheer number of folks who commit to show up and help out. As a parent of two little faces who benefit from this ministry, I am so appreciative. The positive, committed, Christ-centered people who show up each week for my kids are amazing. They are inspirational. In many ways, they are my heroes. Because they consistently show up and help out. I can’t fully commit to do that week-in and week-out (especially during the school year when we are, it would seem, constantly in “go” mode), so it’s incredibly meaningful to me that they can and they do. Summer (and the holidays)…that’s my time to show up and help out. That’s when I can pull some of that load to give these committed volunteers a break.
It takes a village, right?
These folks are big part of my village and they reiterate the Word in my kids’ lives. “And now, little children, remain in relationship to Jesus, so that when he appears we can have confidence and not be ashamed in front of Him when he comes” (1 John 2:28 CEB). You could be part of this, too. If you’re interested in helping out at SMC, just reach out. It’s as easy as sending an email. You can find SMC Kids on Facebook. Email anyone you find on the SMC Leadership page…they can put you in touch with the folks who can answer questions about how to get involved. Call the main office at 336-584-8983, or stop by the Welcome desk and simply ask. Getting involved is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
My first Christmas during my separation, I’ll be honest, I didn’t know what I was going to do with so much time on my hands—I’d never been without my boys for such a stretch before. I found my place at SMC working the check-in desk for SMC kids. And then, because God always puts you in the right place if you’re paying attention (and often when you’re not, as well), I was asked to help with some of the fun activities the older kids participated in during Christmas worship services—there was silly string and cheese puffs, and lots of other things. I had no idea how much that would fill in the big gap I’d felt. It’s so true that when you give you receive so much more in return.
So, I encourage you today to try it. Want a sense of purpose greater than any you’ve ever experienced? Want to feel fulfilled in a way like nothing else can? Show up. Help out. Maybe you go to another church, or maybe not one at all. Maybe working with kids isn’t your thing. Maybe working with people isn’t your thing. That’s okay. We all have different talents and skills. “And serve each other according to the gift each person has received, as good manager of God’s diverse gifts” (1 Peter 4:10 CEB).
If you look, if you ask, you can find ways to get involved….somewhere, anywhere…to help someone, anyone (four-legged creatures covered in fur need help, too, for example, and I have it on relatively good authority that canned goods enjoy being sorted).
Jesus came, He stepped down from Heaven to be a servant, because He loves us that much. And by His great love, this summer let’s show up and help out, because He first loved us. Who knows what joy you might find. What peace. What contentment.
“I don’t call you servants any longer, because servants don’t know what their master is doing. Instead, I call you friends, because everything I heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15 CEB).