Jesus set the standard of selflessness for His disciples when He told them to be His "witnesses, in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8). Such a command implies a life lived for others.
While it may be too early to burden young children with such a weighty imperative, parents can teach them the beauty of Jesus' model.
Jerusalem — Serving right where you are
God's Son challenged His followers to go back to the city of His crucifixion and be witnesses to His good news.
- Switch your children's chores for a week. They'll likely be glad to try something different, and maybe they'll learn to appreciate what the other does around the house. Consider letting them teach the tasks to each other.
- If you have an only child, give her the responsibility of taking on one of your chores. Explain that you trust her to do it right, and watch her give it her best. Make sure you choose something simple at first to promote the feeling of accomplishment.
Judea and Samaria — Serving right where you don't want to
- Have your kids work together to take out the trash or bring in the mail for an elderly couple. (Make sure you go with your children the first time.)
- On your next trip to the park, spend 30 minutes cleaning up litter together. Your kids can redeem the recyclables they find to contribute to the church mission fund.
The Ends of the Earth — Serving right to the edge of the world
Children have difficulty comprehending the vastness of the world, so bring a little bit of the world home to them.
- Show your kids a globe or map and have them point to a country.
- Research the people who live there and their greatest needs.
- Encourage your kids to pray for the children in that country each night.
- Challenge your kids to set aside a portion of their allowance each week. At the end of the year, send their savings to missionaries who serve in that country.
All it takes is one act of selflessness to open children's eyes to the joy of service. God can use the seeds you plant in their hearts to feed the souls of others — even to the ends of the earth.