Raising a Servant Child
There is not much information in popular channels about training a child to be a servant, yet as Christians, that is what many of us strive to do. The example set for us by Jesus is that in order to train a servant, one must BE a servant.
The morning sun had barely begun its ascent, and the hallways in my home were still dark. As I lay silent in the warmth of my bed, I heard a noise break through the dawn stillness. “Someone will be knocking at our door soon,” I whispered to my husband. Yet, minutes passed, and nobody came. I drifted back into partial slumber until I heard the inevitable “Tap, tap, tap,” on our door. Jacob, our middle child, stood in the hallway peering into the expanding doorway. His countenance was the cheerful smile of a child ready to take on the day, and he followed me as I trudged, bleary-eyed through the family room and into the kitchen. I flipped on the light and saw a dusting of coffee grains on the counter top. A bag of coffee was open next to the coffee pot. Quickly, I made a mental inventory of my cleaning from the night before. I was certain I had not left this disaster for the morning. The realization that little hands had recently created this mess hit me as I turned around and recognized the sweet face of a servant in my 9-year old son.
My children do not understand why I drink coffee in the mornings, and they wait impatiently for me to drink my first cup before asking me to play board games with them or make breakfast. They have resigned to the fact that most of our morning rituals only begin after my first cup has been imbibed. All three children moan about how long it takes me to drink that large, warm, first cup. Often, they will come to me sleepy eyed and look into my cup to silently gauge how much longer they will have to wait for my attention. It is as if my morning coffee is an unwelcome visitor in our home that must be dismissed before their needs take priority.
Imagine my surprise when I woke this morning to find my coffee served by a 9-year-old boy. Awareness of his servant’s heart percolated through my veins more quickly than caffeine. I was reminded of a decision I had made less than two years earlier. As a single mom of two boys (and one girl), I had made a promise to date only men who would be good examples for my boys to look up to. I would look at a potential date and ask myself, “Would I be glad to have my son imitate him?” The only man who seemed good enough for my boys to imitate was Mike, who woke up every morning with the all-consuming desire to humble himself as a servant in honor of his Christ. I was lucky to marry that man, and, since then, he has been modeling the servant heart of Jesus to my sons. As God blesses Mike with the fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control), he models them to my children, and my children, like youthful sponges, model them in their own lives. This morning, as I saw the grains of coffee scattered on the table, I observed the beautiful heart of my Savior poured out into a modest cup of coffee. I was reminded of how great Jesus was when He poured His life out for us. What a loving, giving, amazing God we serve! His love bubbles over and blesses us abundantly! In receiving those blessings, let us give graciously and cheerfully, serving others.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Philippians 2:3