As God’s Son, Jesus deserved a palace with a throne, complete with servants waiting on His every need or desire. Yet for Jesus, it wasn’t about the lap of luxury or the fame. Jesus came for a different reason. He came to save us, and He focused His attention on serving, not being served.
Mark records it this way—Jesus said, “Even the Son of Man did not come to be served. Instead, he came to serve others. He came to give his life as the price for setting many people free” (Mark 10:45, NIrV).
For us, we often think of service in terms of our experience with a waiter at a restaurant or the phone call we make for technical support. But as we lean into God’s heart and discover what it means to reflect His character to the world around us, we soon discover something more about service. It’s not just what people do for us, but rather what we need to be doing for the people around us.
From Dan Scott at the reThink group: My kids gave me some insight into this as my wife and I were out in our yard working on a flowerbed. My wife keeps all of these beautiful plants alive in our yard and I try not to kill them. As my wife and I were digging in the dirt with the only two shovels we could find in the garage, our daughters came up to us and asked if they could help plant some flowers. We explained that we only had the two shovels, but thanks for offering to help. Without hesitation, they both said “Oh, we don’t need shovels—we have our hands!” And they did. They got in there and dug around in the dirt and planted some flowers. We all had fun. The garden looked beautiful. The girls . . . well, they were beautiful too. Messy, but beautiful. And it turned out that they were a huge help.
I was reminded that to help out, sometimes all you need are your hands.
It’s like our definition for service: lending a hand to help someone else. There’s something pretty great that happens when we decide to take the focus off of ourselves and lend a hand to help someone who needs it.
I think that we all want our children to grow up and recognize that the world doesn’t actually revolve around them. That often life is about what can do for the people around us. We hope that kids start to understand that they really do have an important role in this world to give, to help, and to serve others.*
This is a perfect message for our kids this month, as it’s a 5th Sunday month, so we’re starting our 5th Sunday Service project early. Our Kindergarten through 5th graders are packing BackPacks for Backpack Buddies on the 29th – read the attached message (which will also be going home hard copy-style with your kids this month – so remember to give parents/kids those take home sheets!!!) and decide how you want to serve.
For our elementary kids:
We help kids discover a story they may not know very well, but we think it’s a great example of lending a hand. In 1 Kings 17, we learn that Elijah asked a poor widow for water and bread, but because of the severe drought in the country, the woman had only enough for one meal for her and her son. Elijah told her that God would provide flour and oil until the next time it rained. God did just that—and none of them went hungry.
Bottom Line: Ask God for what you need to lend a hand. There will be times when you’re not sure you have what it takes to serve others. In those moments, we want kids to remember that they can ask God to help them. God is able to come through for them and give them what they need to help others.*
For our preschoolers:
Our lives are like puzzles aren’t they? We have lots of the pieces, and we keep getting new ones. However, we can’t see what the picture is going to look like in the end. Only God sees the finished work. Only He knows how they all fit together. Only He knows His plan for us.
That’s what we’re teaching preschoolers this month, that God has a plan for us. He gives us pieces of our puzzle as we go through life, and they all fit together. They are all part of His plan.
Nowhere in the Bible is God’s ultimate plan easier to see than through the story of Joseph. From his fabulous colorful coat to his time spent in jail to his saving the people of Egypt from famine, Joseph’s story truly illustrates that God had a plan. And, even though Joseph didn’t know God’s complete plan, he trusted it and he continued to trust God.
We’re going to show preschoolers God’s plan for Joseph this month. And, as they learn the stories, they are going to construct a puzzle to see how each piece of his story fits together—how it all fits together. Then, we’ll teach them that God has a plan for them too. It says so right in His word, “The plans of the Lord stand firm forever,” (Psalm 33:11, NIV). By the time the month is over, our preschooler will be able to state with confidence, “God has a plan for me.”
Here’s this week’s schedule and lessons: