Our children soon learned, however, that taking a beautiful platter of yumminess to someone meant that they would be fawned over; they would be asked if they helped to make it, and if they nodded, given hugs and praise.
While rewarding hard work is important and accepting thanks graciously is polite, we didn't want to teach them that the reason for sharing was to receive something in return.That's when this Bible verse popped into my head:
But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. ~ Matthew 6:3-4I must admit, the second part of verse 4 doesn't concern me too much - I'm not looking for a reward, just to teach the kids properly, but the thought of doing good in secret intrigued me, and I thought it might them, too.
So the next time we baked something, we wrapped up portions in plastic wrap, tied it with pretty ribbon, and talked about the above passage. Then, with children giggling, holding a flashlight, we tiptoed out into the night.
They held hands and laughed and shushed each other as we snuck up to a neighbor's house. Knowing they go to bed early and their lights were already out, we placed their treats in the mailbox and raised the flag, sure they would find it on the way to the gym early the next morning.
Another neighbor works late, so we left her package on a table in the carport. With bright pink ribbons, her headlights were sure to illuminate it upon her return.
Sometimes someone asks me if we were the ones who left the treats the night before, but for the most part, it isn't talked about, and the kids no longer care. They are too excited about doing something good for Jesus in secret.
As they get older, we're beginning to expand our reach. We've left holiday treats on porches far outside of our neighborhood now, and as the kids notice other needs, we try to address them.
Today, in preparation for a trip to a city with lots of homeless people on street corners, we're making "Blessing Bags." We're putting granola bars, sample sizes of tissues, shampoo, lotion, and chapstick in Ziploc bags, as well as small gift cards to places like McDonald's. The kids have been very concerned about these people in the past and we've shared whatever food we had on hand, so we're excited about having these bags in the car and ready to share when the need arises.
How do you seek to bless others away from home?