Do you ever find yourself forgetting what is most important? I know I do. My keys, my debit card, my license. Yep, they have all been lost this week to my husband’s horror. But at least I haven’t yet forgotten our kids anywhere. Or maybe I have.
Sometimes I beam with pride over my son’s developing vocabulary or his hand/eye coordination. And I envision his fluency in multiple languages and his chance at major league baseball status. (He’s two.)
Sometimes I marvel at my daughter’s inquisitive mind and quest for perfection. And I wonder if all of those questions will lead to medical advances or scientific discoveries; answers that have been hard to come by over the years. (She’s three.)
Sometimes I forget to dream about what really matters. I haven’t lost my kids, but I’ve lost perspective. Though there’s nothing wrong with celebrating achievements and encouraging greatness, there is a problem in pursuing what the world deems valuable. When we only strive after external accomplishments, we neglect the heart of Christ. And when we model this habitual pursuit, the children in our homes and in our churches will forget why they’re here in the first place.
Jesus said in Matthew 23:11, “The greatest among you will be your servant.” His life lived these words out in washing feet, feeding the hungry, and healing the sick. The cross echoed this humility. Philippians 2:8 states that, “He humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross.”
I need often to be reminded that the world’s dignitaries don’t have it all together. That acclaimed athletes are not always acclaimed individuals. That doctors or scientists who provide breakthrough research sometimes miss the fingerprints of the Creator Himself. And if you’ve missed the Creator, you’ve missed everything.
I also need reminded that the greatest individuals are those who have never been recognized once. They have never been applauded, honored, or acclaimed. No one cheers their names in the stands or watches their shows from a couch. But in the quiet confines of their life, they have humbly served a cause greater than themselves. And that cause of redemption through Christ reverberates throughout history.
When push comes to shove, I would love for my children to excel at the gifts they have been given. And I will cheer loudly and beam proudly when that happens. But most of all, I want them to pursue Christ. And if pursuing His greatness leaves them without any of their own, that’s more than okay with me. Cause their lives will find impact if they find Christ as their treasure.
So how do we pursue what really matters? How do we encourage the children in our homes and churches to do the same?
Four Ways To Model Jesus and Serve Others
1. Model a servant’s life yourself.
Follow Christ and serve Him in humility. Live by John 3:30. “He must become greater; I must become less.” Work hard, letting your life speak louder than your words.
2. Debunk the illusion of celebrity.
Media won’t do it; so we have to. Invite your children to think critically about fame and fortune. Certainly don’t judge. But do study Proverbs to see what wisdom looks like. Then compare.
3. Honor those who serve.
Who in your family, community, or church serves others quietly? Is it the janitor whose job is rarely recognized unless it isn’t done well? The nursery volunteer who still has endless patience with that bellowing child? The widow who has taught Sunday School for forty years now? Have your children honor these individuals with a simple gift, card, or homemade cookies. Consider throwing a surprise party to thank them for their work.
4. Celebrate the achievement of serving.
Too often we award good grades, applaud goals scored, or present bouquets to aspiring ballerinas. And we should! But how often do we celebrate cleaning up spilled paint for a teacher? Or praying for the pastor without prompting? Or coloring a page for someone who is ill? Make it a habit to celebrate your children’s servants’ hearts on a regular basis.
How Do You Teach Kids What Really Matters?
How have you pursued eternal goals like humility in your home or church? Please share any practical suggestions that you have utilized. Thanks!