Have you ever had a dirty or hard job to do? Maybe you try to avoid them, but at some point, we all are faced with dirty or hard jobs. It may even be a household task that isn’t your favorite such as doing the dishes or cleaning the bathroom. You may put it off for awhile, but at some point it has to be done.
And then there are those hard jobs or frustrating jobs that we put off because either we feel inadequate, we know it will take more time than we can really give it or perhaps we are afraid we will fail. You know those tasks I’m talking about. We all have dirty, messy, hard jobs that we face at times. But what about when a friend has a dirty, messy or hard job that they are facing? Are we willing to help? Are we willing to get down on our knees to serve others? It’s a humbling place to be isn’t it?
There are a lot of reasons to say no to a friend who needs help or to serving in general. Perhaps we are just too busy, maybe we feel inadequate to help or maybe what needs to be done is just not our cup of tea. Maybe we think someone else will do it. Some of the favorite excuses people use for not serving are
- It doesn’t fit my schedule.
- No one asked me to. (Whatever happened to seeing a need a going for it?)
- I’m not qualified to serve in this role.
- It’s boring!
- I don’t like doing that.
- And those of the retirement generation sometimes say, “I’ve served my time. It’s someone else’s turn.” (I’m not picking on those of you in the retirement age bracket, I haven’t quite retired yet, but I’m in that age bracket myself and yes, it’s tempting to say, “Let someone else do it)
Even with all the excuses out there, and some are legitimate, there may be a very good reason why you don’t serve in a specific situation. Maybe you have health issues which prevent you from serving in certain situations or maybe you are older and being on your feet for an extended period of time is hard for you and if you don’t have a car, then offering to drive someone to an appointment is probably not a good way for you to serve. But most of us, yes even those of us nearing retirement age, can serve in some capacity. We might even be able to do those unpleasant dirty jobs.
Serving requires us to be open to the needs and tasks around us. Jesus is a good example of serving. He is the Lord of the universe and yet He willingly served. He served because He loved. That’s what serving should be born out of, a heart of love, love for others and love for God.
Jesus served by coming to earth to live among us. He served by teaching, healing, ministering even when He was tired. He served by washing His friend’s feet at the last supper. He could have asked someone else to do that. He could have said, “Where’s the servant? He’s supposed to wash our feet. Why isn’t he here to do his job?” He could have overlooked their dirty feet entirely, but He didn’t. He saw a task that needed to be done. He saw a teaching opportunity and He knelt down to serve because He truly loved. He didn’t stop there. Just a few short hours later, He gave yet His last gift while here on earth, He served by giving His very life on a cross for us.
Okay Lord, I’m rolling up my sleeves and I’m ready. Give me eyes to see the dirty feet and messy jobs needing to be done around me. Give me ears to hear your voice and show me the ways you want me to serve you and others. I can’t do it all, Lord, but I can do something. I want to share your love and grace in tangible ways. Show me ways to be your hands and feet in this world.
Are you ready to grab a towel, mop or whatever is needed and come do those messy jobs with me? Let’s go! Together we can get the job done!
PARENT OR GRANDPARENT PRAYER:
You freely served while here on earth. You even humbled yourself as a servant to wash your disciples feet. Sometimes I forget that the most mundane, messy and even unpleasant jobs can be ministry. When we serve others, even if it’s just a cup of water, in your name, we are serving you. There are so many ways that I can reach out to serve someone. It can seem overwhelming, but as you give me strength and guide me, I want to serve. I want to serve whether it’s wiping the runny nose of a preschooler or helping a friend get to church. I know I have sometimes turned away from messy jobs. I admit, cleaning up someone else’s mess is not very much fun. Give me wisdom and discernment for when I should clean up a mess and when I should come alongside and to help as they clean up their mess. Give me wisdom with my children and grandchildren too. Show us ways that we can serve together and love like you love. Thank you Jesus, for being my friend and loving me. Amen
Serving begins with learning to help at home and learning to love our friends. Jesus is our forever friend, but how can we foster healthy friendships with our children?
* With young children, getting together with other families is a good start. Young children begin to understand friendship as they simply play alongside one another. Playing with your child as they play alongside others helps too. For very young children, be sure to have toys that can be shared – 2 trucks, 2 dolls, blocks, etc.
* Teach your preschooler what to say when meeting someone new. “Hi! My name is …. What’s your name? Would you like to play?”
* Invite someone over to play one on one with your child. It’s a little less intimidating one on one than in a whole group.
FOSTERING FRIENDSHIPS IN CLASS
* Set an example by greeting each child as they come into the room and letting them know you are glad to see them.
* Play a name game in circle time by clapping different names or singing the names around the circle.
* Include activities where more than one child is playing. Art activities done as a group or building together, doing a puzzle together, etc.
* Model and role play how to introduce yourself and ask some get-to-know you types of questions.
* With older kids, encourage friendships amongst kids who have like interests, but also amongst kids who are different.
* Celebrate each child’s uniqueness.
SHARE A STORY: Jesus Washes Feet – Matthew 26:17-29
May wish to tell this story while having a snack or meal with your child.
Jesus wanted to have a special dinner with His friends because He knew that very soon He would be going back to heaven. (Point upwards.) He wanted His friends to know how much He loved them. (Give self a hug.)
When everything was ready, Jesus and His friends gathered to eat. (Pretend to eat.) Jesus said, “I really wanted to eat this special dinner with you today.” Then Jesus took a towel and poured water into a large bowl, (Pretend to pour water into the tub or bowl.) and He washed all their dirty, smelly feet. (Pretend to wash your child’s feet.) Their feet were stinky and dirty because they had walked dirty, dusty roads all day, but Jesus washed their feet anyway. He washed His friends’ feet because He loved them and wanted to help them. (Give self a hug.) He wanted them to know that they could love and help others too.
Jesus wants you to know that He loves you too. He wants to be your forever friend. Even though you can’t see Jesus, you can talk to Him. He loves to hear what you say. God sent His Son Jesus to the world to forgive us and be our friend. Let’s say, “Thank you Jesus for being a very good friend.”
MEMORIZE: John 3:16 CEB – (Hold hands like holding a book.)
God so loved – (Reach up, then place hands on heart.)
The world – (Fan arms outward.)
That He gave – (Extend outwards as though giving a gift.)
His only Son. – (Pretend to rock a baby.)
Thank you for Jesus. Thank you Jesus for loving me and being my friend. Please forgive my sins and come and be my forever friend. I want to love you with all my heart. Help me to remember to love and serve others too. Amen
KNOW: Jesus loves me.
TALK ABOUT: Friends.
ASK: Who wants to be your forever friend? Jesus!
AND DO: I can help others and I can say, “Thank you, Jesus for being my friend.”
FUN IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK
* Talk about friends. Jesus is the best friend of all.
* Invite a friend over to play.
* Fix a snack or meal together with your child. Talk about how Jesus ate a special meal with his friends.
*You may wish to set a basket of plastic Easter eggs on the table with objects or pictures surrounding the Easter story inside each egg. Open one a day and let it be a conversation starter to talk about Jesus and what Easter means.