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Why We Serve

By Craig Brunk
April 18, 2018

I don’t remember the Sunday, or who was delivering the message, but what I clearly remember hearing that morning is, “Once you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, it’s no longer about what you get, but what you give”.   What an impact that had on me that day, and every day afterward.

What do I do with my money?  What do I do with my time?  What do I do with my talents?  These are three important questions that I should ask myself every day, but I don’t.  I love giving to worthy causes and volunteering and helping those in need, but why don’t I do it more often?  What’s your “but”?

When Marianne and I joined Red Tree 5 years ago, we served with the Church in various outreach programs.  We helped recently settled Somalian’s to set up their apartments.  We helped a “west side” neighborhood to plant and cultivate an urban garden.  We helped the same neighborhood by maintaining the properties of abandoned homes.  We delivered Thanksgiving meals and we provided and delivered school supply filled backpacks and Christmas gifts to kids that would have had no Christmas if we weren’t blessed to be able to help.  Then it all stopped….. and I missed it.  Something inside me longed to serve with my Church again; to work side by side, loving the work and sharing in the joy that comes with helping others.

I am excited that Red Tree is once again providing us opportunities to serve our community as a Church.  Partnering with the city of Ballwin has enabled Red Tree to serve at community events and to assist residents who need just a few hours of my time, a few of my dollars and the benefit of my talent.

A few weeks ago we were blessed to paint the home of Karen, a woman who has been battling cancer for the past 3-4 years.  Her money is needed for medical expenses and her home has suffered and has fallen into some disrepair.  Twenty (or so) Red Tree members worked alongside a contractor painting crew and we scraped, primed and painted the exterior of that home.  In less than 12 hours we completed the project.   Karen served us drinks and snacks and made sure we were refreshed.  Each time she came out to serve us, she beamed and you could see the joy within her; her home was being refreshed and beautified.  She thanked each and every one of us.  I received multiple hugs and I was glad to be able to share in her joy.

It made me feel “good” to serve and I am glad that I got to meet new people at Red Tree, but what truly filled me with joy that Saturday was not about anything I did, or anything about what any of us did to paint that house.  It was late afternoon and nearly everyone was gone.  I was cleaning out brushes and rollers and I just happened to look towards the patio of the house.  There stood Marianne and Karen praying; first hand in hand, then hugging and crying.  There was the real reason why we were there.  Painting a house brings about outward beauty; praying with a hurting soul and giving the hope of Jesus delivers inward beauty.  Thank you Lord for showing me what is truly important.