"In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive." Acts 20:35
We try our best to cultivate a servant's heart for our kids. Lots a days the example we provide isn't anything we want mirrored back. But some times, we are in awe of the work that God is doing and instead of being the teachers, we become the students.
In the last couple of years we have really weighed what we want our kids to place value on. Do we want it to be things or do we want it to be people. So we started with gifts. We have never placed gifts as a high priority for our family and most birthdays, Christmas', Valentine's Day, and anniversaries for my husband and I have been celebrated without a gift. It's not necessarily something we elected to do, most years the funds left us with little choice. But after being married for several years we didn't miss it either. As we realized it wasn't this gaping hole, but rather an area God was refining in us, we applied it to our kiddos.
Last Christmas we started a tradition to only give our children three gifts representing the three gifts Jesus received at his birth. We explained the significance to our children and they were excited, eager even. It is such a joy to watch them get excited about the things that God has placed in our hearts as parents!
The last two years we have also given them the option on their birthdays to replace their gifts for donations to a ministry we decide upon as a family. The first year we collected toiletries for a local Women's Shelter/Transitional Home. This year the kids collected items and donations for Operation Christmas Child. I was so humbled at the generosity. My kids begged for weeks after their birthdays to get started on the boxes. They helped wrap, pack, and pray for these boxes that will find their way into the hands of sweet babies that might be receiving their first gift ever. The excitement in my children's eyes during the process warmed my Momma heart. We wrapped, packed, and prayed over 16 boxes. Sixteen lives that will be blessed. Sixteen lives that will hear the gospel. Sixteen lives that will be impacted for eternity and possibly for generations. I'm believing, because I know God can do it. The impact, while humbling, for these sweet children that we will never know are impacting the two sweet babies I have been given charge to. That is a precious, precious gift.
We have some areas we can grow in and can't wait for areas to be stretched in. I would love to hear ideas your family uses to help your littles cultivate a servant's heart. This post unraveled me. It gave me a new way to celebrate Thanksgiving and I hope to use it next year. We can make a difference in little ways that impact others in a big way!
In love, Jenni