catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 8, Num 3 :: 2009.01.30 — 2009.02.13


A Kingdom for others

The inward focus of our kids today starts at a very young age.  They are not “other” focused, but instead are “me” focused. The empire of the “me” generation lives on.  However, being grateful for our redemption and being placed into God’s Kingdom means an outward focus of helping others in our community, and serving those who are in need.

For some, being “involved” in our community in today’s world means a weekend-long sports tournament that is two hours away from our community.  But since our children are playing with kids from our community, it promotes the overall health of the community, right?  In reality, this type of community involvement promotes the individual.  The progression of kids in sports is to play in a recreational league, go to a sports camp to get better, move up to a travel league in order to increase your skills, play in high school and continue in a travel league to improve your chances of obtaining a scholarship to the college of your choice.  There is a greater emphasis on excelling in sports than the emphasis on serving our neighbor.

Volunteering in our community has gone by the wayside because our kids are just too busy.  Raking your neighbor’s yard or mowing their lawn is reserved for making money, not for helping them out.  However, engaging our kids in a community service project will help them gain a sense of accomplishment for the whole of their community, not just their individual benefit.  Sign them up to help in a community garden or a neighborhood clean-up day, or just encourage them to pick up trash on your street.   Don’t allow them to be so busy that they don’t stop to look at those in need around them.

Helping others and serving those in need means performing acts of kindness for our neighbors.   Let them see you do these acts of kindness so that they will repeat the same.  One winter, the kids and I stopped for gas at a local station.  I went to the one that was “full-serve” because it was so cold, I didn’t want to get out of the car.  When the attendant came up, I saw that his hands were red and raw from the cold.  When I gave him my money, I gave him my gloves and told him to keep them.  My kids were floored and said, “Mom, why did you give him your gloves?  You don’t have any other gloves.”  I said, “Because that’s what people do when they see others in need.  I can go get another pair, but he can’t.”  They never forgot that lesson.   A few weeks later my fourteen-year-old son was out shoveling the snow from our driveway.  After an hour had passed, I wondered what was taking him so long.  I looked out our front window and saw him shoveling our neighbor’s driveway.  She was a single mom, working full time and had left early that morning to try to beat the snow.  When I told him how great his actions were, he said, “Yeah, well, I thought I should help them out.”  I was thrilled that he understood the concept of helping his community. 

Fighting the selfishness of our generation takes time and effort.  But if our kids see the positive outcome of giving of themselves to others, they will catch a glimpse of what it is like to live in God’s Kingdom. Their outward focus will be the beginning of change in the empire of the “me” generation.

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