Sunday, November 16, 2014

Intentional Servant

For many years before there was a Take Them A Meal.com site, I've signed up on a sheet of paper passed around the room, to cook a meal and deliver it to someone who was sick, or had lost a loved one, or had a new baby or was simply an overwhelmed care giver. Unless there was a valid reason I couldn't help, I always did.  Until now, I've never been on the receiving end of that type of love. Love cooked up in someone's kitchen in the form of vegetable soup or pumpkin soup, which we had delivered to us a few nights ago. Love...in the form of thinking of something to prepare for a family in crisis, taking the time to shop for the ingredients and the time to stand in front of a stove and stir in the goodness from the thoughts about that family as the pot simmers. Taking food from your kitchen to theirs is such a personal, loving, unselfish gesture. But, when you can't do that, something store bought or restaurant prepared is just as good.  Within the next few days we will be on the receiving end of two meals ordered and paid for by people who are concerned about us and who love us.  They live across country and though I wish they were close enough to bring food from their kitchen to mine, they are not, so they thought of the next best thing. They were intentional about serving us, so they discussed how they could do that.  They didn't call and say what can we do?  They called and said this is what we are going to do.  Intentional.
I've thought a lot about that in the last few days.  I wondered how many times I might have asked that question, "what can I do?" to someone who needed help, but they didn't know exactly how to express their needs. so they didn't, though there might have been many. I hope in the future instead of saying, "what can I do?"  I will say, "let me come pick up a couple of loads of laundry," or "how about I pick up your kids from school, take them to my house for a couple of hours."  There are so many needs.  Ask for a grocery list and make a run. It doesn't have to be a long list, maybe just milk and bread.  Or maybe that sick person would love a frappuccino from McDonald's or better yet, Starbucks. Offer to vacuum their floors, change the sheets on their bed, load the dishwasher, take them to a doctor's appointment and the list can go on and on.
As caregivers to our daughter Amy, and her family, I can tell you any little thing is appreciated. We've had four meals provided in the two months we've been here.  They didn't ask what they could do, they just provided.  Two times we've had people take the boys for a few hours.  It was good for the boys and good for us. We've had someone willing to come to the house and stay for a couple of hours to assist my mother-in-law as she takes care of Amy while Howard and I rushed to the grocery store for a weeks supply. And then there are those that say, "let me know if you need anything."  And that has led me to this article, because I don't know what to say, or what to ask for.  Can you bring us a meal?  Can you take the boys to your house to play for a while?  Can you come and stay with Amy while we run errands?  You see, I don't know what they really want to do.  What if I ask them one of those questions and they really deep down don't want to, but don't know how to graciously say no. So, from now on I will be specific when I ask someone if they need help. I will make suggestions about what I am willing to do. And maybe we need a new sign up site, an I Am Willing To Do This.com site.
I am a mentor to the MOPS group at The Heights Baptist Church and we are constantly in the midst of providing meals to new moms.  What a blessing.  A hot meal provided by loving hands.  The hands of Jesus!  The next time that sign up sheet appears in your email, type your name in and bless someone.  Then call and see what other need you can provide.  Be an intentional servant.


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