Thoughts on giving back at Outback

I just wanted to share a couple thoughts about the Outback Give Back that raised $405 for St. Peter’s Social Ministry efforts. Pastor Todd texted me and asked if I wanted to go over to Outback on Monday for lunch to support the efforts – considering that I had been having the same idea I thought it was fantastic of course! Our plans were made to head over and be supportive of the efforts…

Off we went to The Outback to enjoy our lunch after he had presided over a funeral and I had been tinkering around on the internet and responding to emails. It was nice to sit down and just chat. Pastor Todd told me a few silly and dumb jokes and stories and I did the same. We laughed and we just chatted. It was relaxing, it was fun, it was a great lunch.

When we left and then went our separate ways I began to think about it all – did I actually do something or did I simply enjoy a pleasant meal with my friend? It felt weird enjoying a good meal while also trying to help at the same time. What did I actually do? Enjoy a meal? Laugh at jokes and stories? Help people? Strengthen ministry?

Turns out we actually did both. We had a great time talking and laughing but also helped support and strengthen the amazing Social Ministry efforts of St. Peter’s. We ate some lunch but we also helped to provide lunches for other people as well. Did we end all problems? No. Did we feed 5,000? No. But in a small way we helped out, we contributed, and ultimately we served God by helping to love and serve our neighbors.

We often view service and care for others as just giving stuff to other people and working for other people but there is much more involved. In our shared service, in our shared love for one another, we receive much more than a lunch or completing a task on the “divine check list”. There are countless ways to serve others and those ways can be fun. We can laugh with our friends in a kitchen as we prepare meals. We can support a business and enjoy the company of colleagues while we support the efforts of those who help feed our neighbors. We can take a deep breath and relax as we drive a car delivering food to those most in need.

Loving and serving our neighbors is not about the task, it is about us as people, us as God’s creation, us as neighbors. We can love and serve one another and find joy in it at the same time. We can care for our neighbors and have fun too. We can help sometimes simply by going to lunch or dinner.

There are a ton of ways that you can love and serve your neighbor. Monday afternoon reminded me that loving and serving is a joyful experience and it can be done in simple ways. It can be hard to help sometimes and the problems of life sometimes seem insurmountable, but everything helps, even lunch with a friend.

Your fellow servant in Christ,

Pastor Suloff