When I was a young girl, I relished my great grandmother’s Easter tradition of saving up her spare change and hiding it in the Easter eggs. I fondly recall running wild in her backyard, picking up eggs and shaking them as they dropped into my basket. We would finish the afternoon by sitting on the floor, lining up our piles of money, and counting our loot. Whoever walked away with the most was declared that year’s winner.
I enjoyed finding Easter eggs and wanted to pass this tradition on to my children. As I began to prepare for Easter back in 2012, I felt like something was missing. My husband and I had recently moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to help with a new church focused on missional living. We had spent the previous two years studying what this means and now it was time to develop it in our family’s culture. How could we tangibly celebrate the resurrection of Christ with not only our kids, but also our neighbors and friends? And with that simple question, Operation Sneak Attack was born.
The evening of Easter began with the Mission Impossible theme song blaring through our van’s speakers. Our hearts started to race as we drove down the road. Joyous sounds filled our van. We were dressed as ninjas, ready to surprise our first targets.
So as to not be quickly seen, we parked our car at the corner and walked quietly to our friend’s home. Each child hid three eggs.
I raced back to the car with kids in tow while my husband taped a handwritten note to the front door:
“You’ve been egged! The Rizo kids hid 12 eggs in your yard. Enjoy the hunt, but do not be discouraged when you find the empty egg. It is a simple reminder of Jesus’ empty tomb. For He is risen!”
My husband knocked loudly on the door and made a mad dash back to us.
As we drove away, the kids’ endless laughter wrapped around my heart. In that moment, I felt the impact of “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). This sparked a movement in our family. Daily we speak over our kids the words, “Be kind to one another, considering others better than yourself” (from Philippians 2:1–4). Operation Sneak Attack has taken these verses and allowed our kids to experience authentic love in action.
HERE ARE A FEW STRATEGY STARTERS FOR YOUR OWN MISSION
1. It begins with relationships. Open your home, meet your neighbors, invite them over for dinner, and hear their stories. As Dan Allender writes in his book Leading Character, “We are to have a character that invites others to see the goodness of Christ and to be a character that intrigues and compels others to discover what it means to be forgiven and set free to live with passion and joy.”
2. Listen carefully. Are your neighbors fighting a battle behind closed doors? If you hear of a need, that’s your cue to pray, “Lord, how can we bless them and point them to you?” If your friend is struggling to buy food, you may want to buy some of the essentials and leave them on her doorstep. If your neighbor is in financial need, you can tape an envelope of cash to his door. Perhaps it is as simple as inviting the widow(er) over for weekly tea, dropping off flowers, or asking him/her to read books to your children. It doesn’t have to be much to bless, encourage, and love those around you. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer stated in Life Together, “It is God’s love for us that He not only gives us His Word but also lends us His ear. So it is His work that we do for our brother when we learn to listen to him.”
3. Plan out your own special mission with your kids. Get your kids involved and allow them to own a part of your family’s tradition. Play together. Laugh together. Serve together. Your family will grow up with these memories and others will be deeply blessed by them, too.
If you and your family would like to start the tradition of Operation Sneak Attack by egging a friend or neighbor, go to http://bit.ly/2odlUV6 to download your own “You’ve Been Egged” doorknob hangers.