As my husband and I stood in line at a busy fast-food restaurant to grab a late dinner with our three exhausted sons, I looked down at my youngest who was mesmerized by the uniformed police officer sitting a few feet away with a fellow first responder. I knew immediately this was an opportunity. My prayer this year had been, “Lord, let me see where I can be a light,” and God had been faithful in opening my eyes. But I didn’t necessarily want to be a light this particular evening. It had been a long day, it was approaching bedtime, and we still hadn’t eaten dinner. I just wanted to order our food and leave, but I had been praying for the Holy Spirit to prompt me and He had been guiding my heart to ask, “What needs to be done?” I knew I had a responsibility in this situation. I knew what needed to be done. I knew we needed to show our appreciation for these first responders—to let them know their courageous and heroic sacrifices for our community are noticed.
That night we decided that showing our appreciation was buying them a gift card for their next visit. We walked over, chatted with the officers and thanked them for their selfless acts of serving our community. The officers were, of course, thankful, but what we didn’t expect was how our actions would start a domino effect. Moments later, the family sitting behind the officers came up and thanked them. Then a woman sitting to the side thanked them as she exited the restaurant. Another family stopped at our table to talk with us. What I realized in that moment was that answering the call of what needed to be done meant so much more than blessing the two first responders. Kindness is contagious. It spreads. And we need to always be willing to ask and act on, “What needs to be done?” so we can show and share God’s love.
We left that night brainstorming other ways to answer the question, “What needs to be done?” One way is praying when we hear sirens. We live near a fire station, so we hear sirens quite often. At first, I prompted the boys, but now they hear the sound of sirens before I do and run to me calling, “I hear sirens! Let’s pray!” We pray for the situation the firemen are responding to, safety for all parties involved, and most importantly that God’s love is shown.
Asking what needs to be done and having the courage to follow through wasn’t easy at first, especially for our sons. We started with prayer. Now, every morning on our way to school we ask God to give us His eyes and show us what needs to be done in our community. Then we pray for the courage to be obedient.
This month as you pray together as a family, ask God to show you ways to respond to the question, “What needs to be done?” and think of ways this applies to the community around you. Fire stations, police stations, nursing homes, hospitals, schools, and our own neighbors need families to answer the call of this all-important question. Begin with prayer and then plan a fun family activity serving in your community.