Our morning had held way too many “hurry up”s and “he did it”s, but silence reigned in our van on the way to school. I’d already delivered my morning speech about how we could have left the house more quickly, and I suspected that I sounded like the “wah, wah, wah” teacher from a Charlie Brown cartoon.

As we exited the freeway and pulled up to the stoplight, I turned down my radio as we saw a woman holding a sign that read “Homeless and hungry. Anything helps.” We had talked before about what some appropriate ways to help might be in this kind of situation, and we had considered what might happen if we gave away our lunches, but today I didn’t expect much.

But in the silence—with the radio down, the fights over, and the speech delivered—I heard a zzzzip and a crinkle. Then a bag of graham cracker cookies appeared over my shoulder as my oldest said, “Here, Mom—could you give her this?” My oldest had taken his snack for school—a precious commodity for a fifth-grade boy who doesn’t get lunch until 12:30—and given it to me to give to this desperate woman.

With a tear in my eye and goose bumps at the evidence of the Holy Spirit at work, I rolled down my window and held out the cookies. The woman smiled and came over, and I said, “My son would like you to have his snack for school.” She smiled a bigger smile, came closer to the window to look inside, and said, “Thank you! Thank you so very much.” She made eye contact with my son and said, “God bless you.” She opened the cookies and ate them right away—much to the delight of my kids.

As we turned into the school, I asked my son why he had given away his snack. His response: “I felt like the Holy Spirit was telling me to. I knew I could help her, and so I did.”

The Holy Spirit was so tangible to me at that moment—obviously interceding in the car on that day as He erased angry glances and filled in the space with grace. Not every moment when I see the Holy Spirit already at work in my children’s lives is that tangible, but I know that day and that moment has planted a new seed in my kids’ hearts. They now insist that we carry prepared bags filled with food, treats, socks, and other essentials for any of “our friends who live outside” whom we see along the road. The kids even go as far as praying for red lights on the way to school.

What if our kids asked, “What needs to be done?” and responded with compassion by the power of the Holy Spirit? What if our act of worship as parents is fanning that flame in the lives of our kids?

What might worshipping God in this radical way look like for your family? Take some time to discuss this with your children, and then, as an act of worship, put your ideas into practice. Remind your children that when we serve others in God’s name, it’s as if we’ve served Him!

The King will say … “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?”

The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Matthew 25:35–40