Our Busy Culture

Recently, as my husband has been in the process of planting a church ( long story), some themes have been popping up in my life and mind that have turned into some changes we want to see in our home.  I briefly touched on this in my post A New Way of Living, and conversations I've been in and around lately have sparked this topic and my heart.

When my family is stopped at a light have I made eye contact with the homeless person holding the sign?  Have I offered a gift card or food to that person? 

Did I take the extra time and cash during my shopping trip to get extra Thanksgiving food to share with a family in need?

Have I grabbed a card from the "Angel tree" at my church or mall to bless a child with a gift this Christmas? Or packed a few shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child?

Has my family adopted an entire family for the holidays?  

Did I notice the girl in my daughters class who often wears the same (dirty) outfit? Is it because she chooses to or because her family doesn't have many clothes for her? Have I asked myself this question and dropped the subject as to not offend anyone or did I do a little research?

Have I taken the time to really stop and talk to that person at the coffee shop who is always there at the same time I am and is annoyingly always trying to make conversation.  Is that person just desperately lonely?  What could I lose with a few extra minutes?

When was the last time I went through the excess of stuff in my house to collect items to give to those who could be blessed by things that aren't and won't be used anyway?

After I did my duty of bringing a meal to the grieving family of the "meal train" I signed up for, did I ever follow up with them weeks later?  Did I take the time to ask how they're really doing?

Obviously with the holidays approaching there are more opportunities to bless others, but I think in our every day life we often forget that people are in need all around us, all year long.  Maybe that doesn't always look like a free meal or clothes, maybe it just means a longer conversation or a smile to someone who often goes unnoticed like the janitor cleaning public restrooms.  

We live in a busy culture.  In a circle of moms we've recently discussed things that keep us from recognizing or being able to meet needs of others.  Here are a few examples . . .  

Both parents work full time and only have the weekend to complete errands quickly.

My kids are involved with a bunch of clubs and sports during the weeknights and weekends, our time is limited.

I'm not totally comfortable rolling down my windows around the homeless for the safety of my kids in the car.

We have a ton of family that we need to buy gifts for, we don't have much money leftover.  

Often times, we barely have enough to provide a Christmas for our own kids.

I just don't have the time to collect items I'm not using, I'll get to it eventually.

These are all valid excuses and I personally use some of these and more quite often.  I understand wanting the safety of our children above all else and I have friends and family who have shown me the chaos of full time working parents.  The reality is we often don't have time.  And yet that's what scares me the most, not having time.  Not having time to model for our children what it looks like to have compassion for others.  Not having the time to spend with people who don't fit into our normal mold of friends, but who need love just as much.  Not having time to take a meal to a hungry family when our pantries are stocked from Costco.  

Well friends, time is just about up.  We have our kids in our home for 18 (maybe 24) years of their life?  What will they see us do for others during that time?  Will I show my kids that I can serve others while serving my family as well?  My mom reminded me today that this is not a "new" theme.  People are always moved and ultimately changed by the "walk" and not just the "talk".  I myself was inspired by my parents' faith in action and not just their words.  Now its up to me to create some margin in my life so that I have some extra time to do things that our culture is just too busy for.

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