I struggle with doing what I’m told.
All I wanted this morning was to make a delicious breakfast sandwich to go so I could eat it in my office in peace without having to share it with the kids. I packed it in my lunch box and headed out the door for the office but as I got closer to my exit I felt God say, “There’s a man at your exit who’s hungry”. He didn’t say, “HEY SEAN! GIVE HIM YOUR SANDWICH!”, He didn’t change a road sign to signal my attention he just gave me a little dose of perspective. I have cereal and oatmeal in the office so it’s not like I’ll go hungry and even if I do it would only be until lunch, but I really want to eat this sandwich. I then start going down the trail of “Maybe no one will be there!” and “Maybe I’ll have to take the next exit!” but in my heart I know I’m being asked to give up something that’s a convenience for me to a person who needs it.
As I pull up to the stop light after the off-ramp there’s a man hunched over with a sign saying “Homeless and Hungry, anything helps. God Bless”, I know what I’m supposed to do but there is still hesitation in my heart. I give him the tin-foil wrapped breakfast sandwich, say “God Bless” as though I were doing some great spiritual act and continue on to my office. I did what I was asked to do but I didn’t have the joy of the opportunity in my heart. We are told to be “cheerful givers” and to do what we’ve set out hearts to do so why didn’t I have that joy? Because I have a very selfish heart. We ask the same of our children on a regular basis.
We need to live out a lifestyle of service in front of our children. They will learn to give of themselves and be joyful about it by seeing us do the same. We don’t come home to tell of these “great deeds” to brag or look for praise but to explain to our children what giving is all about and show them practical ways to do it. Feeding those less fortunate than we are is only one way to give of ourselves. They should see it daily in the way we serve our wives, care for the home and treat those around us. Be the living example of what you want your children to be and you may be surprised at how much further they take it.