Over the past few years, one of the most requested topics on my speaking circuit has been a lesson in which I list a hundred ideas for training our kids to be servants. Service oriented kids grow up to be productive adult servants in the kingdom and it’s those people to whom the Lord will say, “Come ye blessed of my Father,” according to Matthew 25. So it matters if I’m making a real effort, as a mom, to put the heart of a servant in my child. For this reason, I’ve decided to devote a post, every now and then, to a service suggestion — a simple idea for moms to make their homes busy service centers for young hearts and hands. I’d love to hear from those of you who try them. So here goes:
Cookies For Visitors
Every little girl (and almost every little boy) loves to bake cookies. I know it seems like a big mess-maker right now, but the truth is this: Lots of the biggest mess-makers of childhood are also the biggest memory makers. (Think first birthday cake, think pumpkin carving and think Christmas morning!) That’s especially true if you combine the heart-warming picture of mom and child in the flour and sugar in the kitchen with the after-picture of a child welcoming a visitor to worship with a little plastic bag holding a big chocolate chip cookie (or two smaller ones), and a hand-drawn Crayola masterpiece on the ribbon-tied tag. Perhaps your child can write the word “Welcome” or draw a picture of a heart with “Matthew 6:33” inscribed on it or maybe a tracing of her hand with “Hebrews 9:11” on it. You can think of countless other pictures your child can make to place on the tag. For younger children, of course, you will want to bake on Friday and draw and tie on Saturday, so the project will not be quite so laborious. You may want to “cushion” your cookies to prevent breakage and add color with some raffia.
The climax of the project is what happens to your child in the foyer. Try to be sure you are planning for a Sunday when there will likely be visitors. No visitors would really dampen the spirits of a expectant young baker! But when that visitor walks in and your child courageously walks up and says “I made you this and I am really glad you came,” the reaction is almost always genuine delight and hugs all around.
The follow-up on the way home is important, too. Talk about how great it is to welcome people warmly into the worship. You may want to even talk, from James 2:1-7, about how we are supposed to treat all people who come into our assemblies with honor and respect. Talk about some things the preacher said that maybe that visitor really needed to hear. Talk about how your son’s/daughter’s gift may just be the first impression that makes that visitor want to come back. Then pose the question: “What if that visitor should keep coming and learn what to do to go to heaven? Wouldn’t that be wonderful?!” If your child’s cookies went to visitors who are already members, you can discuss how that those people may have learned an important lesson about how to welcome people into their own churches. You are planting seeds of evangelism and hospitality and generosity in your kids.
I have great memories of baking cookies with Caleb and Hannah. The FOR part of baking, though, is just as important as the WITH part. If you bake WITH your children FOR the Lord’s work, the kitchen’s aroma must surely be sweet to the Father.