My wife, Margaret, and one of our close friends helps the local chapter of an organization that delivers meals to senior citizens and other shut-ins. In fact, our friend is the volunteer coordinator for our area.
Each week, they pick up meals for a county agency that helps senior citizens. Then, they deliver the meals to several houses around our city.
I’m very excited about what they’re doing, because they do not see delivering meals as the goal of their service. It would be easy to hand over the meals and walk away, feeling that they’ve done something good for people. But, they see delivering meals as the beginning of their service. What do I mean?
Well, when they deliver meals, they also talk to and get to know the shut-ins. They’re learning about each person’s family and medical problems and background, etc. They pray with them, and give the senior citizens a way to contact them if necessary. Plus, they are looking for more opportunities to serve these people, and they are looking for opportunities to include others in this service.
A couple of months ago, I wrote a post about one such opportunity. When Margaret and our friend learned that the organization did not provide meals around the Thanksgiving holiday, they decided to cook and deliver the meals themselves. Then, they invited some of our friends to help. (See my post “More Meals” for more information.)
They also take our children along when delivering meals, and they invite other people to go with them as well. Our children are learning the names of the shut-in elderly people, and they are often asking for prayer and help. In fact, it was our friend’s daughter who suggested that we all leave our church gathering one Sunday afternoon in order to rake leaves for one of the shut-in couples. (See my post “Taking the Next Step.”)
Recently, one of the elderly ladies called my wife. She needed someone to stay with her husband – who is bed-ridden – while she went to the store. Margaret and our friend took care of this lady’s husband for several hours.
Later, when the lady was talking with Margaret, she said that she had joined one of the larger churches in our area. (They recently moved into this area.) Sometimes, when she needs help, she calls the church office. But, no one ever returns her calls, and no one ever comes to help her.
Then, she told my wife, “But, when I call you, someone always comes to help me. There’s something different about you two. You not only talk the talk; you walk the walk.”
Yes, my wife and our friend talk to these elderly people about God – about his love and mercy and grace. But, they also demonstrate the love and mercy and grace of God by their lives.
And, more importantly to this post, they don’t stop at delivering meals. Instead, they use this service as an opportunity for even more service in Jesus’ name. And, they work to include others in these opportunities of service as a way to disciple others.
Have you ever had an opportunity to serve that you’ve turned into even more opportunities to serve and as opportunities to disciple others?