Christian Parenting – Instilling a heart to serve

Jesus said, “whoever wants to be first must be your slave — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:27-28).  Serving is what our Lord does.  He serves those who are unable to serve themselves.  Truthfully, no person is self sufficient.  The old axiom, “No man is an island unto himself,” is true.  We are not self-contained people.  In fact, we need others. God himself said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18).  

This means we all need help, or those who can serve us and that also means that we need to serve others if they are going to achieve their full God given potential.  We are servants, just as our Lord served us.  But our service is first of all to God and second to others.  Ephesians 6:7 tells servants to “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men.” This means that we are created to serve righteousness and holiness (Romans 6:19).  It is only as we come to understand this that we are able to begin serving others without feeling used or burned up.

To serve others is to give up our rights in order to help them achieve their godly desires.  So how do we begin to instill a heart of service into our children?  We must teach them to look for ways of helping others without expecting anything in return.  Maybe it is opening the door for another person, pushing a wheelchair, carrying another person’s plate to the sink or vacuuming their room when they are really busy and the task needs accomplishing.  Maybe it is helping to put away the chairs and tables after the potluck, or carrying out the trash.  These are the little things that begin to teach kids to open their eyes and watch out for others.  Furthermore, we can teach our children or grandchildren to ask others what they need and then to follow through on doing what they have asked, assuming it doesn’t contradict the Bible.

Remember, hearts are formed over time.  Children, like all adults, are naturally selfish.  Because of this service is not always natural, nor easy.  It takes time and with patience, practice and wisdom each and every parent or grandparent can lay a foundation for serving others and serving God by modeling a life and directing children into the same.

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About Scott Roberts

pastor of Hope in Christ Church, Bellingham, WA
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