Our grandparents and our parents knew all about serving others. For them, serving was a way of life. Times were hard and it took neighbors working together, taking care of each other, even sacrificing at times in order to "just make it through".
I grew up in a church where helping others was a natural overflow of the love we had for Christ. My Dad truly had a servant's heart, and my Mom welcomed visitors to our home with a home cooked meal, pleasant conversation and tons of hospitality. We served because we actually wanted to, and because we knew it was "the right thing to do." And the neat thing is, kids and teens really like to serve, too. I hear so many people complain about how self-centered and self-serving this "younger generation" is, but if that is true, whose fault is it? Could it be they haven't seen an example of serving from us, the adults in their lives?
If you are a Mom, a grandmother, or hope to be a Mom one day, you will prepare your child for success as an adult when you teach by example a love for serving Christ by serving others. Here are 4 things you can do today to encourage the servant heart in your child. (That heart is already there, it just needs a good ole dose of teaching by example.)
1. You don't have to go to Africa to serve. 2 of our sons have been on mission trips out of the country, and one in the Northeast. Mission trips to foreign countries are vital to spreading the gospel message, but right in your own neighborhood serving opportunities abound. Involve your child in the mission projects sponsored by your church, but also do missions as a family. Take your small children with you when you take a meal to a lonely senior adult. Children are also a big help in preparing food baskets for the needy. Choose how your family can serve, then involve the whole family.
2. Let your children hear you pray for the needs around you. When someone looses their home in a house fire or a storm, a family goes through the death of a loved one, or you hear of the illness of a friend or family member, involve your children in praying for those needs. Whether it is around the dinner table, family devotions, or bedtime prayers, when we encourage our children to pray for the needs around them, we are teaching them that God loves and cares for everyone, and that He is the Source for all we need. Prayer leads to serving. Let your kids know that the best way to change the world is pray for the world.
3. Develop a biblical worldview by being alert to what is happening across the world. We live in a very big world and we serve a very big God. As we serve those in need around us, it won't take long for our eyes to open wide to the needs of the world. And as we see bigger and bigger needs, we develop in ourselves and our children a biblical world view of serving others. When you're watching the news and a report of a tsunami in Japan, an earthquake in Italy, or a "coup" in Sudan rushes across the tv screen, take that opportunity to encourage your older children and teens to pray for those affected by disasters, but also think about ways you can help from home. When we view life and our world as being in total subjection to the authority of Christ, we have a biblical world view.
4. As the old saying goes, "put your money where your mouth is." When an opportunity comes to give to those in need, discuss as a family what you can and should give, then give it. Many, many years ago, a gentleman in our church was so moved by the starvation in Ethiopia that he led our church to give $5,000 that went directly to buying food for those who were starving as a result of drought and war. I've never forgotten that, and it influenced my desire to serve others. Your kids won't forget either when you give of your financial resources to aid the hurting.
Mrs. Faye was so gracious to allow us to work in her flowerbeds. This is a pic of the group and more of
the girls serving.
McDonald's is a great place to recuperate after a long morning of hard work!! What can you do today to make someone's life better, and yes, just a little easier? We are the hands and feet of Jesus so let's get busy with a servant's heart and a biblical worldview of what just one person can do when she has a desire to change the world around her!! Happy Serving!!