Sunday, July 22, 2012

Teaching My Children to Serve

"Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Mark 10:43-45
As summer began, I found myself frustrated. The children were fighting more, as they had more time on their hands. They did their chores cheerfully most the time, but if I needed some extra help, I was met with groans and complaints. In thinking about the problem, I realized the root of it was selfishness. It was all about what each individual wanted and not about what was good for the family as a whole. And quite frankly speaking everyone was unhappy.

I remembered an acronym I learned as a young girl.

Jesus first.
Others second.
Yourself last.

For our family Bible time one morning we talked about joy and service to God. Then I set up a "Joy Bag." The challenge was to write on a slip of paper one thing they did each day to bring Joy into life. We shared them together around the supper table each evening. I didn't force them to do this--just encouraged it. Some nights if they had put a slip in the "Joy Bag" they would receive a piece of gum, but not every night. (Gum is a big treat at our house.)

The Christmas gift bag that is our "Joy Bag"

The attitude changed around our home as all of us, including mom and dad, looked for ways to serve Jesus and serve others. It is harder to fight with someone who has served you and done something kind for you that day. We are still working on filling our "Joy Bag" with slips of paper. We are still working on serving others with a joyful attitude, but we have tasted this truth:

The secret to true JOY is found in service to God and others. 

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  1. What a wonderful idea! My family could really use to work on that! Thank you!

  2. found you through raising arrows... thank you! I needed this today! This summer has been very frustrating & I was trying to figure out what had changed! You hit the nail on the head.
    Going to change some things around here, for sure!