Living close to a large Amish population allows us a great view of the Amish way of life. It is not uncommon for us to see horse-drawn buggies or laundry drying on an outdoor line. I am often amazed at their quiet and peaceful life, their strong work ethic, but most of all the way they help and serve one another.
The Amish are a people known for their kindness and service. From their infamous barn-raisings to their everyday kind hospitality, they are taught from an early age to help one another. When I look at our current culture, I am often discouraged by the pervading “all-about-me” mentality. Often, people are in a rush or too busy checking email on their smartphone to notice others. Even I find myself fighting the tide of selfishness as it tries to control my heart.
Serving hasn’t always come naturally to me. But I desire to have a heart for people. I desire to make a difference in lives, to bless others with kindness, and most of all to point toward Jesus. In my own attempt for service, one thing I have noticed is that as I have been deliberate about developing a heart to serve, not only does it become easier and more natural, I now find myself seeking out opportunities.
So, let’s extend this into our parenting. As a mom to two young kids, I want them to grow with a heart to serve. I want to raise children who find joy, purpose, and satisfaction in helping others. In my ebook Teach Me To Serve, I talk about developing a heart to serve in your youngster, sharing ninety-nine practical ways preschoolers can learn to serve. Amazingly, even little kids can bless others and bring glory to God.
One of my children’s favorite Bible stories is “Lunch to Share” from The Rhyme Bible Storybook. It is the story of the boy who shares his food of five loaves and two fish. When the crowds listening to Jesus have grown hungry and it is getting late in the day, the boy gives his lunch to Jesus and Jesus performs a miracle. He multiplies the food to feed the massive crowd (John 6:1-15).
Who shared? Who helped? A child. A mere boy gave of what he had. He gave of himself. And Jesus did something amazing. He transformed and increased what was given, and the result was that thousands of people were fed and blessed.
In all of our service, in all of our giving, at the root we are giving to Jesus (Matthew 25:31-46). He is the reason we serve. We model His actions. . . . And as we act in service to Him, the result is that others are blessed. He takes what we give and transforms and increases not only in the heart of the recipient, but in our very own hearts as well.
If we want our children to develop hearts to serve, we need to teach the importance. It starts with living by example. Model what you want your children to be. Raising kids who have hearts to serve comes as they see us eager to help others.
Practice serving with them. At dinner tonight, have them dish up someone else’s plate. Wash a neighbor’s car together or do yard cleanup for a homebound person. Put together a care package for their sick friend.
Pray for your kids’ hearts and watch for opportunities to love other people. Occasions surround us at home, church, the playground, even the store. And as we serve, let’s remember we are demonstrating the love of Jesus in everyday ways.
Kristen Summers is a fun-loving mom to two kids who keep her busy and laughing. Add her great husband and the Lord to the mix and her life is one fantastic, crazy adventure. Kristen is the author of Teach Me To Serve: 99 Ways Preschoolers Can Learn to Serve & Bless Others. A former wedding & event planner, you can now find her blogging at Celebrate Every Day With Me where she shares fun ideas for children’s activities, creating memorable moments and party planning. Stop by and celebrate the everyday of life.
Get Kristen’s book, Teach Me to Serve, for 30% off the PDF version using code “anniversary” (through 4/24 only).
Photo credit L.J. Sattgast, The Rhyme Bible Storybook (Grand Rapids: Zonderkids, 1996), 322.