The king will answer, “Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me.” Matthew 25:40 CEV
I love to read stories of kids engaging in service projects. It is so encouraging to hear the stories of kids raising thousands of dollars through lemonade stands for food banks or collecting socks to give to homeless people. Service projects are great; we should inspire our kids with these stories to serve God in significant ways. But often, these service projects are things we can only do sometimes. And the truth is, as parents, we probably don’t have the time, skills, or money to get our kids engaged in big service projects all the time.
Thankfully, Scripture reminds us to be aware of the little things. Little things make a big difference! Jesus understood that. A quick look through the parables reveals that the little things matter to Jesus. Jesus uses a parable to address some big spiritual issue, yet he often focuses on the little things of life—like the birds of the air or flowers of the field. Or he notices things like the woman touching his garment in a crowd. He draws attention to the value of the widow dropping her little coins into the offering plate. We see the praise of Jesus for the woman willing to wash the feet of Jesus with her expensive oil and for the woman at the well who gave Jesus a drink. All these things seem little and yet make a big difference. And that is what we are invited to show our kids—that serving Jesus, in all the little ways, makes a big difference.
How can we teach our children to serve God every day in little ways? One crucial skill is to see people as Jesus sees them. Help your kids keep their eyes open every day and spot moments to give a helping hand and show people God’s love by serving them. Practice this when you are out and about and look for opportunities to serve. Did someone just drop something? Does someone look hungry or thirsty? Does someone look sad? As you spot people you can serve, serve them. Even little things like saying thank you to the checkout people or waving to neighbours are ways to model service opportunities for children to see. These are great ways to help your kids begin to notice that there are everyday things they can do to serve the people God places in their path. They will learn to serve God in simple ways every day. At the end of the day, a great dinner conservation question is to ask everyone to share how they served God by helping others that day.
All of the ways our kids serve others—no matter how small they seem—matter to Jesus and reflect Matthew 25:40, “Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me.”
Want to do a deep dive? Check out Family Fire's article: Serving With Children.