“When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure—‘playactors’ I call them—treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that’s all they get. When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes,
helps you out” Matthew 6:2-4 (The Message).
Recently our kids participated in an activity where if they completed it, they were eligible for prizes. They worked hard, without reminders, and ended up winning some very nice things. My husband and I were looking around at the other participants and noticed one particular family was sad because they wanted the prize we had won. We knew logistically it would be difficult for our family to attend the event, but another family seemed excited. So, after talking briefly about what to do, we asked our oldest if he would be okay with us presenting the gift to the other family. After all, he’d won it, so it was rightfully his, but as his parents, we wanted to teach the lesson of blessing others with no thought of a reward for ourselves. As we were driving home that night, I thanked our oldest for being so selfless and giving his reward away. I told him it was really him who blessed the other family because it was his gift to be given. His answer: “Sweet. I was just telling God I wanted to be used by Him to bless others.”
I guess we didn’t need to teach the lesson after all. He already had the foundation laid in his heart to want to bless others and was on the lookout for opportunities to do just that without us having to encourage him. I started noticing how all our kids did that on a regular basis with each other, strangers in the community, and extended family members. It touches my heart when our children volunteer to help bring in groceries if their grandfather comes home from the store while they’re visiting. They stop and help put away the boat after a day of fishing with their other grandparents. Or, how they’re modeling for their younger brother to help a complete stranger at the store pick up the items of her spilled cart that rolled every which way. Our littlest was very happy to join in the scavenger hunt for the woman’s possessions and came away with a smile. He may not understand the concept of blessing others yet, but his older siblings are a great role model to teach that concept to him.
© 2013 Cheri Swalwell