Making a difference involves action. We can’t make a difference without it. The Bible confirms that
“For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.” – James 1:23-25
It is not enough to merely think we should do some good. We must put action to those thoughts and make a difference, both locally and globally.
How can we teach our kids to make a difference through action?
1. We can PRAY.
Prayer isn’t sitting idly by. It’s an action. What happens when we pray for people? Our heart is overcome with compassion. When our heart is in the right place and we pray God says,
If My people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. –2 Chronicles 7:14
- Local PRAYER Action: Talk about the important decisions our government has to make and pray that God will give them wisdom. Pray for those in your community who are battling cancer or other life-threatening diseases. Pray that people would have life-changing experiences with Jesus, turning their hearts to Him.
- Global PRAYER Action: Do you know missionaries in another part of the world? Take a moment to look at a map and pray for the people group in their area. Look up what kids in that country do, how they dress, what they eat. It helps make the world a smaller place when we can see how other people live.
2. We can GIVE with our kids.
Teach your kids to give of your resources…time, money, stuff. When we give what is valuable to us, something happens in our hearts. When we combine prayer with giving, we’re able to see the receiver with fresh eyes of compassion. It’s powerful.
- Local GIVE Action: Spend the day sorting cans at a local food bank. Help your kids set up a lemonade stand to buy toys for kids at Christmas. Go spend an afternoon at the nursing home playing checkers with the elderly. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, passing out food to the homeless. Suggest a no present birthday party to your kids and accept monetary donations instead to give to local charities.
- Global GIVE Action: Plan a family mission trip to another culture. Recycle cans and send the money to orphans in Africa. Help your teen organize a sewing party to make clothes for kids who live in impoverished communities. Organize a knitting party to knit blankets to send kids to keep warm during the winter months. Sponsor a child in another country. Organize pen-pal correspondence between your child and a child over the seas.
Making a difference through action is so very important to me, and I want my kids to learn that it should be a lifestyle. I also want them to learn that going through the motions because it’s the right thing to do is not merely enough. We must combine action with a right heart attitude.
We should display a heart of…
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. -1 Peter 2:9
Doing something with excellence, to the best of our ability, communicates value. People are valuable. Doing something half-heartedly communicates that my time could be better spent elsewhere.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men… –Colossians 3:23
We should give generously and not expect that we will receive something in return. If we are only doing it to get something, then our heart is not in the right place. When we give generously, anything we receive from it is a bonus, not an expectation.
But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. -Luke 6:35