We often used to take trips with our children to visit Grandma and Grandpa who only lived only 40 min away. We would pile all 6 kids into the van pack a few snacks then gas up and be on our way.
One time we planned a trip a little close to lunch time and I decided to pack sandwiches and drink boxes to tide them over till we got there.
As we arrived at the gas station on our way out of town, I noticed a young girl sitting on the ground with a cardboard sign next to her saying “Homeless anything helps”. My children saw her as well and seemed to be staring at her. So many things went through my mind as I saw her sitting there all alone. I had no idea how this girl who looked to be about 17 had found herself in this situation, but I felt so broken for her. I quickly asked my children if they would be willing to share their lunch. In seconds, we gathered up the sandwiches and drinks and I walked over to the young girl and handed her the food. Before I realized, she reached out her arms and hugged me. She smelled awful and her clothes were dirty, but in that moment, I felt like there was this beautiful exchange happening… like this embrace was changing something inside of me.
I got back into the van and I thanked my children for giving their lunch to her and then I shared with them how Jesus said in Matthew 25:40 I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” I told them that they had just given their lunch to Jesus and that in fact I felt like I had just hugged Him!
My husband will tell you that I cried part of the way home as that encounter had had such a profound affect upon my heart. But that did not just have a huge impact on me, it also touched the lives of my children. My kids have grown since then, but even today they have hearts full of compassion especially to those that many would consider “the least ones”.
Our little ones not only hear what we tell them but they watch to see if we act out what we say. I believe its so important to share the many beautiful truths with our children about God’s love and how we should treat those around us with that same love and kindness, but the most lasting impact happens when they get to see right before their very eyes what love looks like not just what they’ve been told it is! Remember Moms and Dads, as much as we keep an eye on our kids, they also keep a watchful eye on us. They are longing to be shown what the love of Jesus is not just through our words but through our actions.
What a beautiful privilege to raise up a generation who will not hesitate to speak of Gods love but will also act it out unreservedly as they have carefully watched us love the least ones.
James 1:22 But be doers of the word and not hearers only