Joy in serving community

Dolly Lee Spiritual Formation 0 Comments

Our joy series officially ended, but I’ve got joy on my brain like the wood chips stuck to our dog Bailey’s Velcro-like fur. (Okay, maybe not the best analogy, but you know what I mean.)

A few weekends ago, our church partnered with Beautiful Day (for the third year) by spending a weekend serving our community in three different towns (a public school in each respective town) and hosting a BBQ for veterans.

A few Sundays ago, Sarah stood and shared how Kay(?), a kindergarten teacher at her school, had hugged her when she learned Sarah helped organize the volunteers for the beautification projects at their school.

But the project that made Kay burst into tears was the creation of a raised flower bed on four legs so her wheel-chair bound son could finally visit the school’s living garden.

I empathize with why Kay cried. No loving mother wants her child to be excluded from experiencing the beauty, life, and wonder of a garden (apart from the other children).

Sarah and Kerry (the two team leads) and many volunteers showed God’s unconditional love to the teachers, administrators, and students through their labor of love.

The different team leads, sub-leads, and volunteers impressed me with their diverse talents and energy levels doing what they could to bring joy to another person. Most likely, a person they will never meet.

One friend’s nine year old son loved helping in the garden; he worked tirelessly all day.

raised bed vegetable garden


Photo used with permission of Flickr User: Normanack

Beyond the visible work, many people served behind the scenes performing different tasks: praying, organizing logistics, buying supplies for teachers’ gifts, purchasing mulch, and other garden supplies.

Because our family helped at another school, I wished I’d been there to see Kay’s joy and the finished projects.

I imagined Kay and her son’s delight as she wheeled him up to the raised flower bed so he could touch, see, and smell the dirt and the new plants.

What joy!

I recalled when my heart soared as I saw glee spread across our little girl’s face at the first time she saw/touched snow or rode a children’s train at a local pumpkin patch.

Those years are gone but I’m thankful for the memories.

And I’m thankful many teachers and students at these three schools will build new and positive memories because of what volunteers did that weekend.

What a gift and a privilege to serve our community (spread across different towns) as a community of Christ-followers (who live in different towns).

Each person joyfully serving in diverse ways using diverse gifts.

When have you been surprised by joy, either by kindness from another or by what you did to surprise someone else?

What is one thing you can do to serve another without any expectation of return?

Linking with encouraging friends: Lyli of #Thought-Provoking Thursdays and Kelly B. of #RaRaLinkup and Jennifer of #TellHisStory

And also linking with wise Holley