NOTE: This is Part 1 of a 5-part series explaining spiritual disciplines to children. Each article in the series is designed to be read by kids or to kids. You can check out the rest of the series here.
by Avery Johnson
What is it?
When you think of spiritual disciplines, what do you think of? Does service make the list? Service is often a spiritual discipline we overlook. In serving, we give of ourselves to benefit and bless others, and in doing so, we imitate Christ. Whether we are serving our neighbors, our families, our churches, or our communities, service grows us in humility, love, and unity. But we must remember that we cannot serve by our own strength. We must abide in Christ.
What’s the Bible say about it?
My favorite example of service in Scripture is found in Psalm 84:10, which says, “For I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.” Here, the psalmist says he would rather serve in the lowest position in God’s house than serve in any position anywhere else. That’s how much he loves the Lord. The psalmist seeks to serve God because God is that good.
In Matthew 25:31-40, we see Jesus’s heart for service. He cares for the least of these—those that would benefit most from being served. But He doesn’t stop there. He goes as far as to identify Himself as one of the least of these, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” When we serve—especially our neediest neighbors—we are serving Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
The best examples of service in Scripture are found in the Gospels. It could be said that Jesus’s entire ministry is characterized by service. Witnessing Jesus devote so much of His time and energy to serving others is especially striking when we realize that this wasn’t even His main mission.
How can I do it?
You don’t have to be a grown up to serve – you can serve even if you’re a kid! This could look like gathering the cups after communion, moving chairs in the Fellowship Hall back to their places, or welcoming people to our church in the Greeter Ministry. If your neighbors are away, take them a meal to enjoy when they get back. If there are construction workers outside your home, bring them lemonade or homemade goodies. If you have clothes you no longer wear, donate them to others in need. If you have time in your week, spread some smiles by visiting an elderly neighbor or a local nursing home.
Really, our service is only limited by our creativity. Let’s pray and ask God how He would have us give of ourselves to benefit and bless others and point them to Jesus Christ.