18 February 2015

Teaching Them To Serve

Faithful.  In. Serving. Him.

This year our homeschool theme is FISH: Faithful in Serving Him.

1 Peter 4:10New International Version (NIV)10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

But the truth of the matter is teaching kids to serve others is so difficult.  Especially in our world today where children think the world revolves around them and the things that make them happy.

Sometimes when we are about to go to church to teach sunday school, or do some type of ministry, sometimes I am tempted to hurry up and do the ministry without my children.  It's faster, it's easier and I don't have to hear whining or listen to 50 questions about why we are doing what we are doing.

And it always reminds me that God doesn't need ME either.  He doesn't need me to serve.  He is doing just fine without me.  However, God loves to involve us in His love ministry of blessing others.  He loves to give us opportunities to minister to others.  He loves watching us get messy and involved in the lives of people.  He doesn't need our help but he loves to have us help and he blesses us all along the way.

So it is with my children.  I don't need their help in ministry or in my daily ministering to others.  In fact I could get a lot done faster without them.  But how else will they learn?  Who else will teach them?  And how dare I try to steal their joy and blessing as they serve others!?

I love the passage in Matthew 25: 35-40 that talks about how when we serve others it is as if we are actually serving/honoring Jesus.  

Matthew 25:35-40English Standard Version (ESV)

35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’

Last month we brought our children to a nursing home for the specific purpose of serving others.  At first just I was going to go, but then Micah my almost 2 year old got sick.  So, John had to go and I thought he would quickly go, stay for an hour and come back home to help me.  But he had other plans.  "I want to take Julia and Mark.  I think this will be good for them to see and learn how to be a blessing to the elderly."

Oh geez, I thought to myself, how is that going to go? But John had his mind made up and I was not going to get in his way.

So the whole morning Julia kept peppering me with questions:

"Well, what are we going to do there?"
"Who are we going to see?"
"Are we going to do anything fun?"
"Are we going to get dessert?"
"Will there be games?"

I wanted to yell, "Julia, this is not about YOU!"  I wanted to say, "Julia, you are going there to be a blessing to these people."

But instead John said, "Julia these people are very old, and some of them have no family near by.  We are going there to make them smile.  We want to help them to have a good day."

How does he always know how to say exactly what she needs to hear without being harsh?  And why is it that Mark was just happy to go with his Dad while Julia had 9 million questions about the two hour period she would be at the nursing home?

So after church they went.  It was rather quiet in the house while Micah and Amelia napped and I cleaned up the house after lunch.  At around 4:30 John called me from the car.  The kids had a wonderful time!  John had a great time!  The people were so happy they came.  They LOVED seeing the kids.  In fact, they thought Julia and Mark were our friend Rachel's children (Rachel isn't even married yet, but her grandma at the nursing home has alzheimers and doesn't remember this).  

Mark and Julia (especially Mark) were the hit of the nursing home. The women kept telling John how beautiful his children were, and they kept asking Julia and Mark their name and ages.  John said each person literally asked them about 5 times what their names were.  John said the kids were so well behaved and so respectful.  They were able to hand out dessert to the people and play cards and board games and just sit and talk and be company.  They learned how to make someone smile.  They learned how to be sweet and tender and patient with these lovely elderly people.  They learned to care for them.

We plan on going once a month to the same nursing home and bless the same group of men and women (mostly women).  And Julia and Mark WANT to go back.  They had a good time.  And John was right, they were a blessing.  And he reminded the kids that by blessing and serving these people they were also putting a smile on God's heart.

 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


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