Cultivating a Lifestyle of Service

The home is the child’s first school, and it is here that the foundation should be laid for a life of service.“  (MH 400)  

I am so thankful that my parents taught me the joy of serving others.  From ingathering as a little child to adopting a home-bound “grandparent” in elementary school to experiencing mission trips in academy, I recall many wonderful instances where my parents helped to lay the foundation for a life of service.  We cannot rely on our churches and schools or outreach programs to do this job for our children.  We must show them how to live a lifestyle of serving others.  Following are five ways to help you get your children excited about service to others!

  1. Make serving a priority in your life!  Stash a blessing bag in your vehicle to give to the next hungry homeless person you see or invite someone for supper who you know is eating alone tonight. Take soup and bread to someone who is home-bound. You can even find shelters and soup kitchens that will let you bring small children to volunteer alongside you.
  2. Give your children responsibilities at home.  Teach them to serve you and one another by washing the dishes, replenishing the toilet paper, and taking out the trash. Affirm their efforts. 
  3. Read books about service and kindness.  A couple of our favorites are Penny’s Christmas Jar Miracle and I Like Giving.
  4. Fit giving into your everyday routine.  While shopping, pick up a few extra nonperishable food items to donate, pick up trash alongside the road while taking a walk, or make an extra loaf of bread for the neighbor.    
  5. Say thank you!  Never let a gift or a kind deed go unthanked.  Find opportunities to thank those who don’t hear it often like the mail carrier and the trash collectors. And don’t forget to thank your children!

The earlier our kids see this lifestyle of service in us, the greater chance we have of equipping them for a life of compassion and service for God.  In serving others the blessing is two-fold.  A huge blessing goes to the one who receives, but I believe you will discover that the greatest blessing is in serving. 


Thank you, Amy, for some great encouragement in adding service to our days. This is post 2 of 6. Come back next Wednesday for another post from Amy!

“Full of Good Works”

Just yesterday while we were having family worship I came across what is now one of my favorite quotes.  We are reading Last Day Events, and there Mrs. White is quoted as saying, “Crowd all the good works you possibly can into this life.” —Testimonies for the Church, Vol 5, pg 488 (LDE 76).  Isn’t that fantastic?  That is what life should be about.  

Tabitha knew this principle well and it was the theme of her life.  In Acts 9:36 it says, “At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas.  This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did.”

Tabitha, or Dorcas, was an amazing lady who was always going about doing good.  Did you hear what the Bible said about her?  Dorcas was “full” of good works and charitable deeds. This means that she (1) intentionally looked for opportunities to do good and (2) this was not an occasional thing.  She overflowed with good works. This shows us that she didn’t just do good things when the opportunity arose, but she went looking for ways to do good and to give to others and she did it all the time.

Acts of the Apostles says about her, “At Joppa, which was near Lydda, there lived a woman named Dorcas, whose good deeds had made her greatly beloved.  She was a worthy disciple of Jesus, and her life was filled with acts of kindness.  She knew who needed comfortable clothing and who needed sympathy, and she freely ministered to the poor and the sorrowful.  Her skillful fingers were more active than her tongue.”  (AA, 131)

We all know what happened to Dorcas.  Somehow she became very ill and died.  The whole community was deeply saddened by losing Dorcas.  They sent for Peter and he, through the power of God, was able to bring her back to life.

Acts of the Apostles goes on to say, ““Dorcas had been of great service to the church, and God saw fit to bring her back from the land of the enemy, that her skill and energy might be a blessing to others, and also that by this manifestation of His power the cause of Christ might be strengthened.”  (AA, 132)

In the story of Dorcas, Christ illustrates the nature of the true Christian spirit.  He shows that the truly converted heart will live a life of intentional good works, not because they are working for their salvation, but because they truly love the Lord and love their fellow man. 

There are many ways that we can be “full of good works.”  Over the course of a few blog posts, I would like to share some of the ways that my family has found to reach out to those around us. We are cultivating a lifestyle of good works!

** THANKS AMY!

Thanks, Amy, for the great post! We look forward to your series that will give us all lots of ideas to add service into our homes and our daily activities! This is post 1 of 6. Come back next Wednesday for the next installment!

The Special Gift

Yesterday was a strange day.  Seemed like everyone around me was having a rough time.  Called a company to take care of some business and the staff was so overwhelmed and flustered that they ended up having to call me back three times before all was handled properly.  A friend had gone out-of-town and forgotten an important chore could I go complete the task?  A call for help to find a lost item.  This went on all day long!

When I caught a moment to think and catch my breath, I started thinking.  All of those various people in various places had one thing in common yesterday an interaction with me.  Was that interaction a blessing to them?  Was that interaction an oasis of peace in an otherwise crazy-busy day?


During this holiday season I expect to encounter many more harried, frazzled people.  I am prayerfully determined to give each person a special gift: kindness.  Costs me nothing to be patient with the tired store attendant.  Costs me nothing to express appreciation to the delivery man who knocks at my door.  Costs me nothing to use pleasant tone of voice when making an appointment over the phone.  Costs me nothing to hold the door open just a moment longer so the straggler can slip inside.

Sometimes my own busyness causes me to be thoughtless and self-centered.  I get wrapped up in my own super long to-do list.  I’m asking the Lord to help me to be more deliberate in showing an extra bit of love to those who need it this time of year.  Will you join me?

Pathfinder Honors as Spiritual Unit Studies

EGW honorThere are several Pathfinder honors in the Spiritual Growth, Outreach & Heritage category that would make interesting quarter or semester-long spiritual unit studies for middle to high school age students.  Some of the honors in this category include Adventurer for Christ, Bible Marking, Sanctuary and Literature Evangelism.  You can find all of these honors and more HERE.

temperance honor

Motivation Monday

fabric“Students should be taught that they are not independent atoms, but that each one is a thread which is to unite with other threads in composing a fabric. In no department can this instruction be more effectually given than in the school home. Here students are daily surrounded by opportunities which, if improved, will greatly aid in developing the social traits of their characters. It lies in their own power so to improve their time and opportunities as to develop a character that will make them happy and useful. Those who shut themselves up within themselves, who are unwilling to be drawn upon to bless others by friendly associations, lose many blessings; for by mutual contact minds receive polish and refinement; by social intercourse, acquaintances are formed and friendships contracted which result in a unity of heart and an atmosphere of love which is pleasing in the sight of heaven.”

Testimony Treasures Volume 2, Page 437

Motivation Monday

“God desires both parents and teachers to train children in the practical duties of every-day life. workEncourage industry. Girls—and even boys who do not have outdoor work—should learn how to help the mother. From childhood, boys and girls should be taught to bear heavier and still heavier burdens, intelligently helping in the work of the family firm. Mothers, patiently show your children how to use their hands. Let them understand that their hands are to be used as skilfully as are yours in the household work. Often a fretful infant or a sick child keeps the mother awake night after night. At such times how much better it is for the children to draw upon their strength than to allow the already overtaxed mother to be burdened with work that they should do. Too often the mother succumbs to disease, sometimes lying upon her death-bed before her children realize that by sharing the home burdens, they could have lessened her cares, and spared her much suffering and affliction.”

 

The Review and Herald – Sept 8, 1904

Motivation Monday

“Children and youth should be missionaries at home by doing those things that need to be done, and that some one must do. Instead of repining that you cannot do great things in some foreign missionary field, improve your opportunities in the home field, and your work will be acceptable to God. You can prove by faithful performance of the little things that seem to you unimportant, that you have a true missionary spirit. It is the willingness to do the duties that lie in your path, to relieve your overburdened mother, that will prove you worthy of being intrusted with larger responsibilities. You do not think that washing dishes is pleasant work, yet you would not like to be denied the privilege of eating food that has been placed on those dishes. Do you think that it is more pleasant work for your mother to do those things than it is for you? Are you willing to leave what you consider a disagreeable task for your care-worn mother to do, while you play the lady? There is sweeping to be done, there are rugs to take up and shake, and the rooms are to be put in order; and while you are neglecting to do these things, is it consistent for you to desire larger responsibilities? Have you considered how many times mother has to attend to all these household duties while you are excused to attend school or amuse yourself?”

The Youth’s Instructor – March 2, 1893