Raising Kids to be Christ-like Servants
- Wednesday, August 03, 2011
I must confess that as a parent I don't always model servanthood. Too often I model the opposite. I enter a situation where something is needed, and I feel the urge to take care only of myself. I find myself rationalizing how busy I am, how tired I am, or how much I have already given of myself. I have the time, the energy, and the ability, but I just sit drinking my latte, wondering why things aren't being done "better."
We first have to recognize our own bent and that we are not serving in the most basic of ways. When we do, we will better understand why it's hard to give this type of heart to our children. It's difficult, even impossible, to give away something we don't already have.
In order to give this gift to our children, we must become servants, and then our children will see our faith in action. As we walk into situations, even this week, whether it's in our homes, our workplaces, our neighborhoods, our churches, our communities—wherever it is, we can start by asking ourselves, "What needs to be done?" As you do this, look around you. You will discover how different things appear.
Recently we offered a "serve experience" for our families at our church. We put together individual packets for our families so they could have their own "What needs to be done?" experience. As each family participated in the elements included in the packet, they were guided through reading Scripture, praying, and then driving in their cars or walking through their neighborhoods.
I thought about myself—how many times had I jumped in my car simply with a destination in mind? Almost every time. Very seldom do people say, "Hey, let's just go for a drive." That sounds like something from the 1950s. Just to go for a drive is unheard of these days. We use transportation as a means to get somewhere.
What happens when we live simply as "destination people" is that we're not able to ask, "What needs to be done?" Instead, we're asking, "How quickly can I get there?" or "Who is getting in my way?" because we're probably late and stressed out. Unfortunately, when I do this, I miss out on all the things in between.
It's this "in between" that I wanted for my families in the drive that we asked of them. It allowed them to drive quietly for about fifteen minutes around their community and ask, "What needs to be done?" For me, this was an intriguing thought. I've lived in my own community for almost ten years now. Never once have I driven around for fifteen minutes and asked the question of what needed to be done. Further, I wanted to take my staff at church through this experience to see how it would work before we presented it to our families. They were my guinea pigs.
I sent my staff out into our community in little "family pods." My high-school worship leader was "dad" and I was "mom" in one car, along with "our kids"—one administrative associate and one children's associate. We had fun as we drove off, watching our kids in the back, who were throwing things at each other and shouting, "He's touching me," and all the things we supposed a family would have to endure on their journey of exploration.
We stopped to read the verses, to pray, and to get ready to ask our question of what needed to be done in our neighborhood. We were so eager to serve. We first found an empty lot that had trash, so we jumped out and started cleaning it. We saw a homeless man, and we gave him a sandwich. We went to a park and cleaned bathrooms. We saw a woman carrying groceries to her car, but when we started to approach her, she ran away! Funny. Overall, we were feeling good about it, but we were also thinking about what God might still have for us in this.
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