I am so pleased when one of my students cleans up without being asked. It warms my heart when a student helps another student just because assistance is needed. High school students often get a “bad rap” for being selfish and self-centered. Yet I am often blessed to see another side – a side that would shock their parents in a good way.
What cultivates a servant’s heart? Why do some young people notice when help is needed – and then respond? There may be various reasons, yet I know of two qualities that fertilize seeds of service.
First – positive examples. When children see adults serve others, it demonstrates a living example of a servant. If parents and grandparents are the ones who help carry groceries in from the car, clean up after meals, offer to sweep the porch, or rake the leaves – children will see this and follow the example. It is a wonderful opportunity to include older children in work days for the church or elderly neighbors. Working alongside your child or grandchild allows fellowship as well as the fulfillment of serving together.
Second – providing opportunities for service. The earlier children learn to serve others, the sooner it allows serving to become a pattern of behavior. It is often easier and less stressful to do a chore ourselves. Yet, when we need help, our children and grandchildren may not know what to do or how to follow through in a helpful way. Depending on the age of a child, giving them responsibility for small tasks develops their confidence and their ability to follow through. Early acts of service may include:
- wiping off the table
- putting forks and spoons at each place for a meal
- folding wash cloths or hand towels
- sweeping the deck or sidewalk
- matching socks
- raking leaves, picking up sticks (stick patrol)
Jesus is the ultimate example of a servant.
Let Christ be your example of humility – Philippians 2:5-11
5-11 Let Christ himself be your example as to what your attitude should be. For he, who had always been God by nature, did not cling to his prerogatives as God’s equal, but stripped himself of all privilege by consenting to be a slave by nature and being born as mortal man. And, having become man, he humbled himself by living a life of utter obedience, even to the extent of dying, and the death he died was the death of a common criminal. That is why God has now lifted him so high, and has given him the name beyond all names, so that at the name of Jesus “every knee shall bow”, whether in Heaven or earth or under the earth. And that is why, in the end, “every tongue shall confess” that Jesus Christ” is the Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus also said –
Mark 9:35-40 (NLT)
35 He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.”
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our elected officials would take this attitude?
May we be examples of servant leaders to the precious children in our lives.