This is the third installment of “getting kids excited about serving” by Sally Meadows. Sally is a singer/songwriter who loves to teach. Enjoy what she has to share about leading children to serve in the kingdom of God!
“ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me.” – Matthew 25:40
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” – 1 Peter 4:10
“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus Himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” – Acts 20:35
God calls us to serve others. It doesn’t matter how old (or young) we are; how little (or how much) free time we have; how much money we make or have to spare; or whether we think we are equipped (or not). There are always opportunities, if we keep our eyes open, to serve others and fulfill God’s calling on our lives. We are all, including children, given unique strengths and gifts to share with the world.
Consider it a joy to serve!
It may take a bit of work for us to refocus our intentions from our own interests to serving others. That’s okay! Gaining a servant’s heart takes time, and for most of us it takes baby steps. Here’s one way you can engage your whole family, including and especially your kids, in setting goals to serve others in a way that provides tangible and recordable results.
While ideally we have a servant attitude year-round, start by choosing a defined time range for you and your children to conscientiously find opportunities to serve others. The goal is to have each child and/or family member provide acts of service to others, then present what he or she has done in the name of Jesus to Him on Christmas Day. Perhaps the summer months, while the kids are off school and you are looking for activities to keep them busy, is a good time for your family to engage in acts of service. Or perhaps you might choose the month of December, when there may be many needs in your community and your family may be in a more generous frame of mind.
What are some ideas for your children to do that are acts of service to others? Brainstorm ideas together that fit your children’s interests, abilities, and age group. Here are some ideas, but there are many more:
1) Choose toys to give away to charity.
2) Run a lemonade stand to raise funds for a good cause that piques their interest.
3) Write a letter to grandparents or other relative, thanking them for everything they’ve done.
4) Visit an old folks’ home to play games and sing songs.
5) Share a toy with a younger sibling.
6) Do household chores before being asked.
7) Give a bouquet of wild flowers to a lonely neighbor.
8) Give some spare change to a busker.
9) Offer a sibling the last piece of cake.
10) Draw a picture and/or write a letter to your family’s sponsored child.
11) Welcome new neighbors with a house-warming gift.
12) Befriend the shy girl in the summer camp.
How do you record what each person has done in the name of Jesus?
Write out each act of service on a slip of paper or cardstock. You could also punch out shapes from paper/cardstock or buy premade shapes (such as hearts) to write on.
Where do you store the recorded acts of service?
Take your kids to the dollar or discount store and have them pick out a gift box to put everything in. Here’s the one I use.
Or, use an old shoebox or other box that the kids can decorate – a great summertime activity! Remind them as they decorate their box that this is a gift for Jesus! Or you could wrap the box in gift wrap and cut a slit in the top through which the children insert their recorded acts of service.
The night before Christmas, put the boxes under the tree and have each child say, “Jesus, this in my gift to You.” On Christmas, your family can choose to have everyone open their respective gifts on Jesus’ behalf and read out loud some or all of the acts of service each has done. Teens and adults may prefer to keep their acts of service private. That’s okay – Jesus knows.
Have fun with it! Although it may take some time to get into the swing of things, it is a great way to get your kids used to kingdom thinking and acting.
Sally Meadows is a singer/songwriter and freelance writer from Saskatchewan who has worked extensively with children as a classroom teacher, Sunday school teacher, and science educator. Sally has been shortlisted twice for a Canadian national Word Award in the category “song lyrics” for songs from her two CDs “Turn the Page” and “Red & White”. She is the featured artist at the “a beautiful life” women’s conference in Romeo, Michigan, on October 18, 2014.
To connect with Sally, please go to:
YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/SallyMeadowsMusic
Compassion page: https://compassion.ca/ambassador/sallymeadows
Email: [email protected]