I recently guest-posted on the blog “Like a Warm Cup of Coffee” on the topic of preparing children to go into the world by going into the world together as a family. (Click here to read Part 1: Is Your Family a Clique? and Part 2: Is Your Family an Outpost for Christ?)
A few readers expressed concern that the kind of going-into-the-world I was calling them to was big, busy, and time-consuming.
Some of us are called to big out-there ministries — serving in homeless shelters, delivering groceries to shut-ins, street evangelism, and more.
But some of us are not. At least, not right now.
…at home with small children
…ill in bed
…behind a non-descript desk in the middle of a gigantic cube farm
…caring for aging parents
And there, He asks us to live for Him as earnestly as if we interact with hundreds every day.
Praying valiantly for your church family, writing letters, and making phone calls from your sick bed are just as effective and pleasing to God as leading a Bible study.
Teaching your little ones to clean up their toys, pray to God, and use kind words with one another are eternally significant tasks.
Developing relationships with other parents at the ball field, dance lessons, and the kids’ bus stop may be exactly what He wants you to do.
Giving your time and a listening ear to a lonely senior next door is give your time to God.
When God blessed us with children, He showed me how much I had closed myself off to the world. I would tackle my to-do list with my head down, my eyes focused on my task, and my goal to finish as fast as possible. I avoided eye contact at all costs so I wouldn’t be delayed by conversation.
It was quite effective at building an invisible impenetrable wall between me and everyone else. I carried my fortress around with me. Not exactly going into the world, was it?
My children smashed my carefully-tended fortress to bits.
They make eye contact, wave, do silly tricks, and start conversations. They drag me out of my shell, forcing me into conversations with total strangers and with neighbors – who ought not be total strangers when you’ve lived somewhere for more than few months.
What I’ve learned is that going into the world is simple.
It’s interacting with the people around me, seeing the mom who needs a hand getting her kids corralled and helping out, holding the door for the person behind me, smiling at strangers I pass in the cereal aisle, laughing with the elderly couple and introducing yourself to the other parents at your children’s extra-curricular activities.
Going into the world is seeing and reaching out to the people whom God has put into your path. It is inviting them into your life, even for a moment.
We can all do this. We must all do this.