My prayer of late has been about fruit.
“I just want to produce something for you, Lord, that will last.”
I want something tangible, touchable that I could actually lay down on an altar. I want to see the work finished. The published book that draws a heart to God. The Bible study that lights a fire in the souls of men. I want to see the fruit of my laboring prayers. Perhaps I’m wired that way. Perhaps we all are.
We were created to do good works. (Eph. 2:10) and to bear fruit in that work. (Col. 1:10) So it is entirely natural to want visible evidence that our works are producing a harvest for God.
All the unfinished ideas and dreams can assault us, as though we have yet to truly offer anything of great worth to God.
My tendency to see achievement as king seems to slip in here.
When I read about the High Calling’s encouragement to create good, I liked that idea. I began to look into my life and ask, “what good am I creating even now?”
What good things are we already doing – all of us – that we often overlook?
I stumbled upon little ways every day that I am making a real and authentic offering to God – through my children. For the recovering legalist, it’s a gift of grace to recognize the good God is cultivating in me and passing along.
Giving Jar: We’ve begun our allowance plan in our home to encourage good stewardship, which begins with giving – to God and to others. We are planting a seed of habit, that we hope our children will cultivate all of their lives. After tithe and the piggy bank, we encourage our kids to put a portion every week into our family giving jar. Each month, we plan to find a need in another family and try to meet it with this jar. For extra incentive, I match their contribution dollar for dollar. (We offer great family benefits)
Showing Gratitude: I’ve found a great use for the sixteen million drawings my children bring home from school. This may be genius. (You’re welcome, Moms) We upcycle (or is it recycle) them into Thank-You cards. We teach our kids to say the words “thank you” and then follow through with action. If words can bring life, actions prove their worth. I teach my kids to provide proof of their gratitude.
Joyful Obedience: We play music when folding laundry and sing the “clean-up” song while picking up toys. Because so many tasks in life are mundane, I hope to teach my kids to find the joy in doing the necessary. This includes obedience to authorities. There is more peace in the home and the workplace when lines of authority are respected. Though discipline is always tricky with toddlers, I look for open doors to teach them that quick obedience brings joy to the family. (Especially to Mom. ;))
Minute Prayers: I would say I teach my children simple prayers, but really they have taught me here. They pray so easily and naturally already that I find I want to pray like them. My daughter, Ann, began praying, “Thank you for Jesus” as her evening and morning prayers. That about covers it. I believe teaching prayer as a daily conversation creates hope and trust in a God who cares about our every need. When my son Josh struggled with discipline, I taught him to pray, “Help me, Jesus.” I caught him praying it in his room one time without me. If one man can affect change in the world, and one prayer can change a man, then prayer changes the world.
Share Everything: One of our big family slogans is this: We share everything. You can imagine how well that goes over with four-year olds. Then, when you least expect it, a child takes the initiative. We start early talking about giving toys away to kids to don’t have any. The lessen I tell my kids every time sharing comes up is this: God will always provide enough for you, so you can give with joy. When Josh wants more grapes and Ann starts to take his, I remind him I can always get him more. He doesn’t have to tighten his fist. It’s a lesson we all could use a bit more of…the opening of the hand.
What are some ways you are creating good in your places? Your home? Your work?
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Gal. 6:9