Now that school is over (is it really ever over?) and we have some free time on our hands, how will we spend it? What is important to get done: selecting and purchasing curriculum for next year, planning and scheduling the weekly assignments, catching up on household to-do lists, maybe just finishing up this school year? I must admit that as of today, I have only two out of four of my school age children really ready to graduate to the next grade level – we seem to hold one of Murphy's laws in our little school, "the further we look ahead, the 'behinder' we get" or something like that. But, really, what is important for eternity? If we knew we may die soon, what would we want to have accomplished? What would we want to have taught our children? I'd wager a guess that it would have something more to do with relationships and less to do with the stuff of this earth.
Are we loving God? Do we communicate and express that love? Are we loving others? Do we communicate and express that love? Remember Jesus' words, "If you have done it to the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto Me." What have we planned to ensure that our summer will be worth something eternally? Here are a few suggestions I have come up with to help your summer be an "eternal" summer.
- Summer is not the time to stop daily devotions, but to expand them. Pray for missionaries and martyrs around the world. Check with your church for missionaries that would enjoy a box of blessings or a long overdue letter. Check the Voice of the Martyrs Link for activities that children can do to help others.
- Start a "compassion" jar where your children begin to save extra money for special gifts to be given to a needy person or ministry. This teaches the children about sacrifice and offerings that go above and beyond their normal tithe.
- Take your children to a Convalescent Home. There are many lonely ones here who enjoy seeing and talking to your children. For the ones who cannot speak, a word of prayer with and for them is heard in heaven and treasured on earth. Check your local phone book for locations and visiting hours.
- Participate in a Pro-Life outreach, abortion protest or political rally. These have eternal value because they teach our children that freedom and life are given by God and should be upheld as extremely important issues.
- Visit a Crisis Pregnancy Center. Call and ask if there is a time when someone would be willing to speak to you and your children about what goes on there. After a tour of the facility, ask what your children could do to help. One year we were able to help the Center by washing the toys that the client's children use while their parents are in counseling.
- Have your older children put on a one day Bible Camp at your house for the children in your neighborhood. This is something they will never forget if they are part of the creative process in coming up with fun crafts, games and Bible stories for the children.
- Look into prison ministries. Prisoners love to receive mail and visitors. We have seen people rededicate their lives to the Lord and have continued corresponding with them for years. Check with your local police chaplain for more information.
- Make a few sack lunches and go on a treasure hunt for the unemployed or homeless. You're sure to find someone near you or in a downtown area. The children love making these lunches and handing them out. Before you go, pray for the recipient of the lunch and for God's divine direction. Don't forget to put in a few tracts as well.
- Take a big cooler of ice water or lemonade and paper cups to a local park. While the kids play, have them offer a cup of cold refreshment to whoever is there. The Lord may open the doors of communication through this small act.
- Actually speak to someone in the grocery store, whether a worker or customer. Just bringing in six children to shop has caused a number of conversations with customers and clerks alike. We recently met an older lady at the grocery store who was lonely and we were able to bless her with some visits, flowers and phone calls.
I have found that if I do not plan these things into my calendar, I will not do them. And, when the day arises, everything else will scream for priority. Make it a priority to put Jesus first, and He will help you with the other things that need attention.
Keep your eyes and ears open to God's voice and His divine appointments this summer, and as you do, you will make an eternal difference in someone's life – it may be yours!
Deborah Wuehler is the Devotional and E-Newsletter editor for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Deborah lives in Roseville, CA with her husband Richard and their six gifts from heaven. E-mail Deborah with your comments at Devotions@TOSMag.com