Over the past few years, one of the most requested topics on my speaking circuit has been a lesson in which I list a hundred ideas for training our kids to be servants. Service oriented kids grow up to be productive adult servants in the kingdom and it’s those people to whom the Lord will say, “Come ye blessed of my Father,” according to Matthew 25. So it matters if I’m making a real effort, as a mom, to put the heart of a servant in my child. For this reason, I’ve decided to devote a post, every now and then, to a service suggestion—a simple idea for moms to make their homes busy service centers for young hearts and hands. I’d love to hear from those of you who try them. So here goes:
Talent Search for Outreach
This one explains itself. You first do a talent search. Make a quick mental (or physical) list of your child’s talents and and propensities. For example, when Caleb was very small, he loved to draw, and, for a preschooler, was pretty good. He prided himself on being able to “color in the lines.” He was also very verbal and could carry a good tune. Well, when you assess these “amazing” talents and try to put them together into a ministry, it’s just obvious, right? He can call all the elderly people in the congregation when it’s their birthdays and wish them happy birthday and he can also pass out hand-drawn birthday and holiday cards to lonely widows at services.
Hannah, on the other hand, was great at memorizing and acting, so she was quite the little performer. Older members of the congregation loved to ask her to do her “Mary and Martha” speech or sing one of her “Hannah’s Hundred” songs or perform one of her funny skits. We pretty much required her to comply, telling her how happy she was making those people and praising her at home for giving of herself to people who did not have too much happiness in their lives. Since she cannot now even remember a time when she was not “performing,” it has not been a huge step from those little speeches and skits, to being in her comfort zone when she is speaking for larger ladies events and girls’ purity days.
Maybe your child is good at catching butterflies. Pin and frame one for an older member’s nursing home table. Maybe your son is great at digging in the dirt. Tell him to go dig up a cup full of the blackest dirt he can find, drop a couple of seeds in it and take a plant to a godly elderly man who would like to talk to a small boy about growing things. Maybe your daughter is good at playing the piano. Have a widow’s luncheon and have her play their favorite songs after lunch and have a sing-along. Maybe she can do laundry. Go get a pile from the lady in the congregation who has a new baby and two toddlers and get her going. Perhaps your son plays hockey or does karate. Go pick up the young man in your congregation whose parents don’t come to services with him…perhaps he is poor. He would LOVE to go to your son’s hockey game or karate practice! You get the point.
The key is to be sure you are constantly telling your kids that they are adding joy to lives. They are using what God has given them to bless somebody else. They are funnels of blessings. If we are just filling up our cups to overflowing, we’re soon just making a mess…we’re spilling. But, if we become funnels and are able to direct our gifts to bless others, we aren’t “messing around”. We are “blessing around.” It might be good, for your Family Bible time one night, to illustrate this point with a quart of water and a cup. Show how so much of the water is wasted if you just keep pouring into the same cup. Then get a funnel and some little small-mouthed bottles and funnel the quart into several bottles, cap them, and show that when we are funnels, we spread out our blessings instead of wasting them. I can think of several choice Bible verses you could use while doing this activity, can’t you? (Do a quick search of the word “generous” in the ESV and you have a great list. Memorize one or two as a family activity!)