Our church has been very focused on outreach lately. To define that for you, it means we show God's love to others outside the walls of our church. This can take any form. Maybe you pay for the person's meal behind you in the drive-through. Maybe you help a young mother by holding the door for her. My first question when we started talking about all this at church was, "How is this any different from "Random Acts of Kindness?" So, to let you in on that answer: you have to let them know that you did it to show them God's love. Towards that end, we even had little cards printed up at our church that you could leave behind.
Every week people came and told their stories of blessings they had given to others, which had also blessed them. Every week I sat there and tried to think of something I had done to "outflow" to others. Finally I told someone I had ironed my husband's clothes. "That doesn't count," they joked.
The point of the whole exercise was to reach OUT. To show God's love to OTHERS. To bless those who DON'T KNOW HIM. OK, I get it. Really, I do. But the fact of the matter is, I ironed my husband's clothes that morning when I was really crunched for time and both girls needed my help and I still wasn't ready myself. I stopped and I ironed his clothes because of the love God has put in my heart. I want to bless my husband. I want to help him. So I did it--and even with a smile on my face. Isn't that showing God's love?
Here's my dilema. In the face of a big push at church to outflow to others (passing out water at the park, giving away popsicles at an apartment complex, etc.) where does that leave my family? Maybe it's because I'm not home yet (1 more week of work!) but there is just so much to do around here, that I don't feel like I have much time for out there.
So I feel guilty about that. How can I know our great Lord and Savior and not share Him with others? But on the other hand, how can I leave dirty dishes in the sink and laundry that needs to be put away, to go to church early, have a quick sack supper, and go to the park to pass out water? Where does that leave my family?
What I think is: outflow should happen from my family. It should not be an extra thing for us to do on our calendar. When I take my daughters to the library, and we help a little lost girl find her mommy, they are learning how to show God's love to others. When we stay home and clean up the living room before Daddy comes home so he can relax, they are learning to serve their dad. When they are a little older, our family can do some project that blesses others. I want them to do this.
But I feel that I have a job and a duty here, at home. And it comes first. And when I have shown God's love to my family, they go out into the world and reflect that. I guess you could call it "delayed outflow." But because of dedicating my time and efforts on our family and home--we are going to raise daughters who share God's love at every turn during their lives.
Still, I feel pushed to get out of the house and start sharin' the love...but there are so many opportunities right here at home. What to do?