Serve Others First

As our oldest students are preparing for their annual mission trip to work with Habitat for Humanity, Polly Ebert shares how a heart for service is forged in the young.
When I first thought about this blog, I decided to whip out my trusty 1942 dictionary and look up the word 'serve.'  To serve is to further assist, aid, help, relieve, and or advance another.  This is not to be confused with a servant, who also does these things but may be acting to benefit themselves, either through pay or some other kind of compensation.  Many of us are servants to our bosses, our spouses, and our families.  We might serve in this capacity for the money, the recognition, or just to keep everything peaceful.  However, serving others ahead of ourselves is another story. 

Serving with no thought of reimbursement has to come from within our hearts.  We serve out of grace received and compassion that has been demonstrated to us by our Heavenly Father.  I truly believe this kind of serving is nurtured through a loving environment full of examples of selfless acts of kindness.  I could teach my first graders about the virtues of serving by writing down ways to help others, discussing what it means to be a helper, identifying who is being kind, pointing out who is thinking of others instead of themselves, etc.  The true learning of this action, though, comes from watching it unfold in the lives of others.  Countless times during the year, faculty members, friends, or parents will offer encouragement, help, or kindness to my class.  We, in turn, write cards, comfort others, and console classmates.  With help, students can learn to recognize these acts of service and look forward to experiencing them.  Even at this young age, students can realize the joy in putting others ahead of themselves.  They can enjoy the warmth of a deed done solely for the benefit of someone else.

Learning to put others first doesn't come easily or naturally to us, but through repetition, patience, and examples, children and adults alike can experience and appreciate it.

Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.  1 Thess. 5:11