My son, JD, has a servant's heart! I could just shout it from the roof tops! Thank you, Lord!
Trust me when I say it is NOTHING I have done. I don't have any amazing parenting strategy that taught him that quality. The truth is I don't have a clue how it happened. I've come to realize that it's just one of his spiritual gifts. (By the way, if you've never read the book, The Five Love Languages, I recommend you do! It's how I first recognized that "Acts of Service" was JD's love language.) I think God just instilled a spirit of service in JD and it's how he best shows love to others, and receives love as well.
I also think JD is a "fixer". I think most men are. If I'm sad about something, he wants to know what he can do for me. If he senses that I'm aggravated, he will find something that needs to be done and start working on it. If there is something that I'm struggling with, he is the first one to jump in and try to help. He knows that by helping me in some way, he's going to be able to make me feel better. I remember JD's preschool teacher sent home a note on his progress report that read something like this, "JD's is always willing to help. He is my second set of hands in the classroom. If something needs to be done, he is willing to do it." He's been this way all of his life and I am so thankful!
Maybe you also have a child who is naturally in tune to the needs of others and wants to help. Maybe you don't. The good news is, that's OK. Your kiddo has their own gifts and talents that I bet you can already recognize. The other good news is that you can teach and nurture service to others in your children. They don't have to be born with a tendency to serve in order to grow into a person/persons with a servant's heart.
As I look back over the short time that Jesus was in ministry, actively calling people to accept him as Christ and pursue a deeper relationship with the Father, Christ's way of showing love was first to serve. If someone was hungry, he fed them. If someone was physically ill, he healed them. If someone was ashamed and rejected, he comforted them and spent time with them. Jesus served people.
In Christ's wisdom and love for people, he knew that the way to tender someone's heart and to get them to listen to what you have to say, you must first show a willingness to serve that person's needs. I am reading a book by Sally Clarkson, entitled The Ministry of Motherhood. Mrs. Clarkson says that if our children are to willing be lead by us, and if they are to willingly accept our counsel and advice, they must first know that we are attentive to their needs and are willing to serve them. Kind of like the old saying, "You catch more bees with honey, than you do vinegar."
By observing Christ we also know that a person who is willing to serve is an excellent leader because they are willing to make decisions that are in the best interest of others and not themselves. I learned this lesson in the work place as a young woman when I was waiting tables as Cracker Barrel. The best manager I've ever had was a man named George Brown. There wasn't anything that he would ask me to do that he wasn't willing to do himself. I respected him so much that I transferred stores two different times in order to work under him. He was a great manager because of his concern for everyone around him, employees and customers alike.
See, if we raise our sons to have hearts willing to serve, that won't make them doormats or pushovers as the world would have them to believe. No! The fruits of service are respect and admiration and love! A godly man with a a servant's heart will rightfully inherit a wife who trusts him to make the hard decisions because she knows that his intentions are not selfish, but his intentions are to do what is in the best interest of her. A man with a servant's heart will have children who respect him and accept his advice because they will know that he wants good things for them...and is not looking out for himself first. A father who has a servant's heart will be adored by his daughters because they know what it feels like to be the first priority in a man's life and so that is the standard that they will compare every relationship to.
And by first serving his family, he then inherits the God-given position of leader of his home. He will become the most respected, most loved, most adored person in the household. Not because he demanded it, but because he puts his family first and they all know it, and love and admire him for it. He will be their HERO...and isn't that what every little boy and every grown man wants, to be someone's hero?
My dad was this kind of man to his family and to this day he is my hero...one of them anyways.
My husband, Jeff, is my hero also. Everything he does everyday of his life, every drop of sweat from his brow, every ache and pain, every decision he makes is for the benefit of me and our kids. And because he serves us...he leads us.
But ultimately, my hero is Christ. He served me in such a way that no other person has ever done. Christ knew that in order for me to receive forgiveness that a sacrifice had to be made, and he willingly made it with his blood.
So because Christ served me...He leads me.