Yesterday we participated in one of my favorite activities. Our church family gets together every other Monday night throughout the school year for Monday Night for the Master (MNFM), a night of encouragement and service. We have been doing MNFM for 7 years and for about the last 5 years one of our activities has included sending a group out to sing hymns with someone who isn’t able to make it to worship services.
Yesterday morning I started calling some of our shut-ins, like I typically do on the morning of MNFM. One of my calls was to a longtime member who has been hindered by a host of age related ailments as of late. As we began our conversation I asked, “How are you feeling today?” and she sweetly replied, “Oh, I’m feeling tired. This cold, cloudy day has me moving slow.”
Her response had me prepared for polite rejection. Many times the older members that we try to visit are just not up to the company. We continued the conversation and I eventually asked, “Would you be up for having our group of singers over?” With happiness she responded, “That would brighten my day. You all could be the sunshine of my day.”
Our time of singing hymns last night was one of the best we have ever had. We had a group that filled her living room. This sweet woman had a list of hymns ready that she wanted to sing, so we all knew she had been looking forward to this time. Our group was made up of all ages from the 89 year-old we were visiting all the way down to a pair of two year-old children. I believe everyone who was in attendance had their day brightened just as much as the woman we went to visit.
At home and in Bible class we often talk about how some of the unhappiest folks you will meet in this world are only focused on themselves. That’s an interesting observation in this era of the ‘selfie.’ We are encouraged and built up when we spend time serving others, being with others, and looking beyond the difficulties and discouragements of our lives. My day was brightened when I knew I had helped bring some sunshine into another person’s life.
Here are a few things we try to do as a family to shine some light. I’d love to hear some of your ideas in the comments section below…
- Start the day with purpose. Earlier this school year we followed the example of some family friends and began the tradition of starting our day with a song and a word of encouragement. We sing a simple song based on Psalm 118:24 – “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” We then take turns saying something good that we are going to do that day. It has helped our family to pause and look forward to the opportunity we will have to do good in the day ahead.
- Keep rested. Our MNFM event only runs during the school year, taking breaks in the summer and the winter. As encouraging as the activities are, we might wear out if we don’t take a break and do something different for a bit. The same is true in our families and in our personal lives. There are times when we really need to focus on our own lives and give ourselves a chance to rest and renew so we can continue to be of service to our family, friends, and neighbors.
- Never too young. My parents brought me up going to visit people in nursing homes, working at the church building, and doing all sorts of good things. Children are never too young to start doing good. Last night our two year-old gave the woman we visited the biggest hug. I know it brought joy to her heart and it might have brought a little tear to my eye because it was just so stinkin’ sweet. One of the best things you can do is encourage your kids to give the widow ladies at church a hug. A hug from a child is a blessing.
I hope today is a good day for you and that you will spend some time thanking God for the blessings that he has shared with you. I would really like to hear a few of your ideas on how to share joy in the comments section. And of course I encourage you to continue our Dinnertime Devotionals series as we look at the life of Joseph in great detail >>> Dinnertime Devotionals 15
And if you need a bit of joy today…how about a short video of a toddler hugging chickens