Thursday, November 10, 2016

Service through a Child’s eyes

by Tomya Peters

            Being a servant must become a way of life. Are we always looking for a way to serve? I have to admit that a lot of my life I was just happy to keep a handle on my children. Keeping them from running amuck kept my mind consumed. Who had time to think of other ways to serve when running after children felt like the best service you could do for those around you? I thought keeping my kids from creating needs of service was a big enough job most days. This year our church theme is PRAY, GO, SERVE. We divided the year up into thirds and this is the part of the year we are focusing on Service. My job on Wednesday nights is to teach service to two and three year olds. This thought reminded me of a story from several years ago.

            We were in Seattle, Washington at a church my husband had just taken a new pulpit position with. I was doing my usual by trying to keep a handle on my five very energetic children. At the same time I was learning about the church and its needs. A few months had gone by and we were finding our place and feeling at home.

            Sometimes when it comes to service we want to find just the right need, the one thing that will make the biggest impact or use our talents best. Plus we don’t want to step on any ones toes by helping where they have already staked a claim. It’s simpler than we think. We just need to start serving where we are. If we see a spill on the floor, trash that missed the waste basket or someone standing alone, just stop and serve. There’s service opportunities found throughout our day in all the places we go. We spend too much time saying and thinking things like, “That’s not my job!” or “What should I do?” We need to serve! There is no service we should feel above doing or under-qualified for. Our education does not give us rights to only say yes to certain exclusive positions or feel too small to be accepted in others. Sometimes we even think we know what service others should or shouldn’t be doing. Now I’m rambling off track.

            At this new church home in the state of Washington, I was busy observing all the needs around me and where I would fit into the work best. All the while not realizing my youngest was busy checking out the needs on her own at this new home and how she could best serve in the moment.

            Micah and a new friend whose dad happened to be a brand new Elder had found a new service needing attention. The best part was they didn’t ask anyone. They just saw the need and jumped right in. They didn’t try to get others to help, drawing more attention to their selfless service either. Matter of fact I didn’t even learn of their service ministry until a couple months after the event. I know I may sound like I’m bragging a bit, but I just want to share all I learned and am able to see more clear now concerning service.

            Micah and her new friend had noticed one Sunday morning, while all the other children were in their bible class, an important need. At five years old they had climbed up on a four sink counter-top to wash an 8ft by 4ft mirror with half a bottle of very foamy hand soap and their hands. The two of them were wet, sudsy and very proud of their hard work. The other child’s mother happened to walk in on them. After retrieving the girls off the counter she cleaned them up and took them to class. What a mess. I’m not sure how she managed to clean it all up with no one else finding out, but she did. This was kept from me because I was their brand new preacher’s wife, for fear of how I would respond. I only later heard about the incident for two reasons. One, because it was too funny not to share and second was because when, my now good friend, walked in on our daughters cleaning the mirror, she knew they had hired the right preacher.

            So you ask, does this story show service or how to teach it to children? Well, there’s a lot of things I learned from it. We won’t serve others around us if we don’t feel at home. My daughter and her new friend had never done anything like that before. It was because they did it together. You need to get into the lives of your church family and make it your home. Also, it’s not important to ask or tell others what or how you are serving. See needs and get after it, don’t wait for fanfare. God sees what is done in secret and rewards. (Matthew 6:1-18) Finally, when you don’t quite do it the way others think it should be done, remember, who can get mad at you for doing what they won’t do and when you’re serving God not men?

            Now for the little tots I’m teaching. I think the best way to teach them is to show them. So the next time the bathroom mirror looks like a couple kids smeared soap all over and left it, it could be that my class has been learning to serve.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

My Hypocritical Husband

       What do “Singing in the Rain”, “High School Musical”, “Sound of Music”, “Dream Girls”, “Annie” and the “Music Man” have in common? From the titles you can guess music or singing. These are called Musicals. “Grease” and Fiddler on the Roof” are two classics. My favorite is the “Sound of Music”. Maybe it’s the history throughout the story or the large family it depicts that pulls me in. I think I just love to sing and to have it tell a story at the same time is enjoyable. Not so true of my Husband.

      My husband hates, yes, hate is probably not strong enough, loathes musicals. Anytime I mention going to one he quickly vetoes the choice, yet when I try to shut him up as he sings our daily routine throughout the house; I’m ignored.

      How hypocritical of him to say he hates musicals yet lives his life out in song. A lot of us are no different. We judge someone who steals from another, but when we take items home from work, it has no effect on us. We see the weaknesses in our churches and fail to see our own contributions to why our church is not growing. Hypocrisy as simple as saying one thing and doing another.

      This reminds me of several bible stories. Lots wife (Gen. 19:26), for one. We may not see text of her decision to leave the city and trust God before He sent down fire to destroy it. Nonetheless, we know of her looking back and turning to a pillar of salt. I believe it was more than a glance. To me it was of a longing disobedience to God. You know the way a child says they will do what you ask, but on the inside rebellious emotions are spewing, and very often comes out in hypocritical actions to what was enforced. Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5) is one that comes to mind as well. Hypocritical turmoil had taken over their hearts. They didn’t have to give all the money but they wanted the appearance of being completely selfless. God saw through the lies and their lives were taken that day. We also see where people think one way and say another. The person who tells herself she is no good at loving her children and providing for them but gives them all of herself and everything she has. Then there are those who think they are better than everyone, but their children don’t even know Christ for lack of being shown by their parents. None of us are untouched by this word Hypocrite. Unless your name is Craig Peters.

       Craig and I were on the road to visit one of our kids and grandchildren one day, when he had a revelation. He was in high spirits singing at the top of his lungs in the small space of our car when it hit him. He said, “For someone who hates musicals I sure do sing a lot”! With surprise in our faces we both fell apart with laughter. How Ironic for us after 36 years of marriage, and 13,140 songs later if you’re only counting one song a day, to finally see his hypocrisy.

        How many of us still don’t see the lies we live with, or ignore the truth in front of us? How many of us are like my husband? He will shout it out forever how he hates musicals, but if you spend any time around him you will hear him sing everything, from what he ate for breakfast, to how he got the mail out of the box by the road. If you spend any time with him he’ll probably even sing a song about you. I don’t know what the trigger was to open my husband’s eyes, but I pray God helps me live true to myself and them make the changes He leads me towards in my life of service. 
by tomya peters

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