We Are All Selfish
From birth it’s easy to see that we struggle very little in the realm of self-preservation. It’s as though it’s in our design. We know instinctively that a cry will ensure we are fed, changed and comforted. And although we cannot yet form the words to communicate our needs, we adapt well to the service of self. If it were only that easy, that instinctive and that effective to assume the posture of serving others we wouldn’t be found asking ourselves, “Who are you serving?”
If your ever worried that your little dear was selfish beyond measure, concerned only about their own creature comforts – let me assure you that you’re probably right. The truth is that from birth, left to our own devices, free of expectations and social mores we are all that way. Selfish to the core.
This side of heaven we will all battle the constant demands, draw and drive for self. And, as adults who “know” better and who understand (at even the most basic level) the call to die to self, the tension is real. The apostle Paul says it best.
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
What then is a momma to do? If the wise, converted Paul battled the constant pull of self, we must not only expect, but rather anticipate a similar pull in our own lives and that of our children. If we want to raise kids that understand the call and are committed to the service of others, we must be more than well intentioned — we must be purposeful and prepared.
The Posture Of A Servant
Mommas, it will not be enough to pray for selfless spirits and servants’ hearts. Again and again we must be certain that we don’t fall into the trap of “do as I say, not as I do.” If we want to raise children who are quick to move to or rest regularly in the posture of service we must first find ourselves regularly and willingly in that same position. If we do not show them with both our words and actions the necessity of servant living how can we expect them to put on such a life?
But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Raising A Servant Minded Child
Service is an opportunity, not a chore, and certainly not a punishment.
If we characterize service as a chore to check off the list our children will likely approach it the same way they would a chore – with reluctance and maybe even a less than positive attitude. Talk to your kids about why we serve, using scripture and Jesus as an example. Given them the chance to identify ways in which they would like to serve others. If they are part of the decision-making process they will likely have a better attitude about it. Encourage them to be creative.
Together is better.
We are part of a life group at our church and a couple of times a year we participate in a service project together. We seek out opportunities and make sure (since there are so many of us with littles) that we choose a project that everyone can participate in. Serving as a community of believers stresses the importance of service, the responsibility of the church to stand up and serve those in need, and demonstrates how much more we can accomplish when we work together for the benefit of others.
Allow and encourage others to call on your child to serve – they may see an opportunity you wouldn’t.
Yesterday while attending service I received the following text message from our Children’s Minister.
I was so proud but truthfully, I would have never considered that as an area where my daughter would have wanted to serve. Leading worship – yes. Helping with the younger kids – absolutely. Running the worship videos and sound – not a chance. I would have missed it completely.
Momma, we can raise our children to be more like Jesus and we don’t need a fancy equation or five step plan to do so. We just need to be intentional in our own lives in living out a message of service and we need to be diligent about looking for and helping our kids identify areas they are passionate about serving in. And, we don’t have to do it alone. Ask your neighbor, your child’s teacher or ministry leader for ideas about how your child might serve and opportunities to serve together.
This, is how you leave a legacy of service.