My father loved to listen to music. We all played instruments, he played the radio (his saying). In the last few years of his life a song circulated that he really loved. The lyrics were:
“If you want to be great in God’s kingdom
Learn to be the servant of all (repeat)
Learn to be the servant of all
learn to be the servant of all.
If you want to be great in God’s kingdom”
Learn to be the servant of all. (Public Domain)
Jesus says in Luke 22: 24 – 28
“24 Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves'”
And in Mark 10:42 – 45
“42Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.'”
God gave ALL for 1 (you – He would have done it for just 1, just as the Shepard would leave the flock of 99 to find just 1 ). In turn, I (1) should give for ALL. Recently our S.S. and our Pastor have studied the scriptures over service to others for the Lord’s sake and it reminded me of dad and of my notes from 35 years ago. That is what is great about the Word. It never changes even though the world does.
Funny how definitions are defined by the viewpoint of the times and the society in which you are raised. A servant to many is a low-income, menial position. God’s word says Jesus was a servant and He WAS, IS and always WILL BE, the greatest of all. There are many Christian adults still struggling with learning this concept. In today’s society it is a counter-productive concept. Our society says, “it is all about “me”. The rise in lawsuits, the pursuit of materialism, the rise in child abuse/neglect, are all symptoms of a sick world focused on self. That is why it is so important to teach a servant attitude to your child even as early as teaching them to walk.
A child needs to interact with other children and adults in love and compassion; sharing and giving instead of taking and demanding. I see many demanding children in stores. I also see parents give in to them to keep the peace. No matter what age your child is, even if a teenager, you can re-focus them on Christ and the servant attitude He lived on earth. It is not easier when they are older so if your children are young, then get busy now.
As toddlers you can teach them with phrases of, ‘let’s share this with ___”, “let’s help mommy (daddy, grandma, or sibling, etc.) with ____”. And above all, let them see you sharing, giving and helping. You teach them they are doing these things out of love and not obligation. Actions speak louder than words and your children pick up on what is real in your life, not what is forced or for show. There are enough phony Christian charitable works today. The people on the receiving end always know when it is not real. Serving is out of Love, not pity.
My father was strict and oh, so stubborn. At his funeral the pastor said, “one thing about Harry, you always knew where he stood on any subject.” But, Dad was never two-faced. He would give you the shirt off his back and you knew he meant it, it was not charity. He loved giving. If anyone asked him for something and he had it to give, time, money, things, he gave it, no strings attached. I do not remember anyone every being asked to pay back his ‘loans’. We grew up in a home that took care of missionaries. I remember visiting shut-ins and collecting for the missionary closet. When a child grows up seeing people serving God with their time, money, prayers, etc., then they have received a foundation to build your serving on as you grow older and grow in the Lord.
Children from toddlers to young adults are watching you serve. Who are you serving? Self? Remember, they know you and they know if it is real. What will be their foundation view of service?
IDEAS: At church there are so many ministries you and your children can take part in like:
- Food Pantry
- Cleaning/Set Up
- Teaching S.S.
- Meals on Wheels
- Children/youth work
- Driving someone to and from church, doctor’s appointments
But, also let your children see you involved in the community and show them how to serve the world as Christ loves the world. Show them how to really ‘love thy neighbor’ and not how to pity.
- Homeless – soup kitchens, etc.
- Walkathons: D.A.R.E., M.A.D.D., Cancer awareness, Community events, etc.
- Food banks
- Clothes Drives
- Needy (you can take 1 gallon bags – say 10 of them and keep them in your car. We have homeless on every corner it seems. They want money, of course we do not give them money. But, if you have one of these bags, you can hand it to them. In each bag place:
- Package or easy open can of tuna, or a chicken salad kit
- Plastic Fork
- Juice box or water bottle
- Band aides
- Travel Kleenex
- Travel Hand sanitizer
- A note telling them of a local homeless ministry
- Go to your dollar store and pick up sunglasses, or anything you think they can use
Finding ways to serve is not the problem, finding a servant’s heart is the struggle. Teach your children to be great in God’s kingdom.