The day was ordinary. We found ourselves once again in the aisles of Walmart checking off a list full of items to stock the pantry. I knew cold weather was coming and wanted to grab some hot chocolate so we’d be ready for those super fun snow days and wintry nights that demand something warm and yummy.
As we stood there trying to decide if we wanted marshmallows or not, an elderly lady fumbled beside us. She was riding in one of those electric carts. She reached out for a box, but several more fell off the shelf as she did. My children rushed to help her pick them up. She thanked us and we all went about our shopping.
When we got in line, the same lady happened to pull up behind us. One of my girls offered to unload her basket onto the conveyor belt for her. She happily agreed. As the girls worked, I talked with her about the crazy hot weather we were having and we laughed about buying hot chocolate in spite of that.
Before we finished, the woman leaned a little closer to me and whispered, “Thank you for showing me a glimpse of God’s love today. I didn’t think kind or caring adults existed in today’s society, much less children.”
As we walked away that day I felt thrilled that she saw loving kindness in us, but also sad that a woman of her age had come to believe that caring people no longer existed. But I knew she was right. Just a shopping experience at Walmart is enough to discourage you with people stealing parking places, cutting you off in line, and employees not really interested in helping.
But I’m not willing to give up. God has commanded us to serve others. He’s given us this beautiful and wonderful task of loving every one we come into contact with. The Bible says that Jesus himself didn’t come to be great, but to be a servant. As I look around at our world and try to determine how that should look in our lives, I am daily humbled by the opportunities we miss.
As a mom, I want to be intentional about making sure my children understand what it means to be a servant and integrate that truth in their lives!
How to Teach Your Kids to Be a Servant
Teach them that serving is a commandment
There are many things that God asks us to do in response to our love for Him. One of them is serving others. We are not required to do these things in order to be saved. Rather, it is our natural desire to want to obey God as a result of what He has done for us. Even if serving others doesn’t feel natural to us, we are called to do it! In fact, God specifically gifts us with talents and abilities SO THAT we can serve others. We see this truth in 1 Peter…
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. 1 Peter 4:10
Teach them that serving is our way of showing Jesus to others
In today’s world, the message of salvation is vastly perverted by compromise, hypocrisy, and selfish ambition. If we want to reach people for Christ, we had better be different. In fact, I would argue that one of the most convincing ways to tell people about Jesus is to show them the incredible love He has for them.
Our behavior will be so different than what people are used to that it will draw them in to wonder what is different about us. Jesus taught His disciples this very principle in John…
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:34-35
Teach them that serving brings blessing
Now I would caution you to be careful how you word this one. We don’t want our kids serving others simply to get something in return. In fact, I don’t think God promises that at all. When He said that it is more blessed to give than to receive, I think it was mostly the internal blessing that we get. It’s that feeling of doing something good and it feels, well, really good.
In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Acts 20:35
Teach them that serving is part of every day
If we want service to be part of who we are, it’s going to need to be part of our everyday. I used to fret about this desire to take my kids to a soup kitchen, to a nursing home, or even to deliver Meals on Wheels. None of those things are bad, but none are really practical with small kids.
True service really is about doing good to other people as often as you have an opportunity. It’s about sharing whatever it is that God has given you in that moment. That might be money, time, advice, food, clothes, or even a hug. I think we make serving others into this grand thing when it’s really this simple.
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:16
For fun, I’ve made a printable for you to hang up as a reminder of this calling to serve. To download, simply click on the image below.
Are you ready to teach your kids to serve? Write down these verses and share them with your family today. Then get started looking for simple ways to help people. You’ll be shocked to see how often you find them when you are looking.
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