Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hospitality Beyond the Home: The Ministry of Notes

In today's fast-paced world of email, text messages, and facebook, the ministry of the written word has been cheapened.  We live in a world that is saturated with communication and connection.  And it's cheapened our words.

How often do I take the opportunity to write down my thoughts?  To write down my love for others?  We think that they already know and many certainly do.  But how do I feel when I check the mail and find that someone took the time to write me a note?  Doesn't my own heart soar and walk just a little taller knowing that someone is thinking of me?

A handwritten note does something for one's soul.  It lightens it.  It releases a load.  It lifts the spirit.  It reminds us that someone is contending in prayer for our lives.  It can be an encouragement that God is working in our lives.  Or that we have yet to be forgotten in this world and in our mission.  Or that our friendship has value and worth in another's life.

There are many different types of notes we can write, but these are just a few to get us thinking:

Happy Birthday Cards--Recently, I've been keeping a list of special birthdays (and anniversaries) so that I can bless others with a word of encouragement.  Before I run out to the store (Dollar Tree is my favorite for cards), I take a quick glance at my list to see what dates are coming up.  Before sending each card, I do my best to pray over what the Lord would have for the recipient(s) in the next year.  Is there something special that He would like to speak into that person's life?  How does He want to lead and guide in the next year?  Sometimes the card doesn't get mailed till that day.  And that's fine too.  It's the simple act of remembering and blessing that comes through in remembering their special day.

Encouraging Notes--We all have those individuals in our lives who could use a word of encouragement.  Leaders, friends, stay at home moms, siblings... there's no lack of struggle in a fallen world.  Who in our lives needs to be lifted up and stregthened for the journey?  Ask the Lord how He would like to encourage those in your life.  How would He like to speak to them?  Is there a special scripture you need to share?  Think and pray for someone in your life that is struggling in their marriage, struggling with sickness, walking through financial troubles, battling through parenthood, grieving the loss of a parent or a child, or simply someone who is grieving in their heart and they can't figure out why.  Make it a goal to send one encouraging note a week.  Who can you lift up this week?

Thank You Notes-- This is a practice I've done with my children from a very young age.  Each year after their birthdays, we sit down together and work out how to best thank family and friends for their generousity.  Some years, I pick up a package of printed Thank You cards from the Dollar Tree.  Or years, we paint homemade Thank You cards together.  Either way, I always involve them in the wording of the cards, helping them to express their gratitude.

Beyond birthdays, is there someone in your life that has blessed you recently?  Maybe there's been a particular sermon that's spoke to you in the past weeks. A friend that's had you over for dinner.  Has someone blessed you in a special way?  Let them know that their efforts have not gone unnoticed.  Ask the Lord to speak through you.  You may be amazed at how He blesses them through a simple note.

These are just a few ways we can use notes to ministry to those without even leaving our homes.  Our lives are certainly full, but this is such a simple way we can show our love and appreciation for other.  Handwritten words have the power to build others up in a powerful way.  In our age of fast paced communication, let's not forget the power of the written word.

How can you be a blessing to others today?

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