Today is International Day of Charity, a day to focus on serving others less fortunate. As Christians, serving others is a key aspect of our faith. We don’t serve others to earn God’s favor; we serve others because God’s favor already rests on us—and we’re eager to share His generous love with the world.
Are you teaching your kids to cultivate a heart of service? Here are some practical ways you can encourage them to love and serve others.
Be on the lookout. Opportunities to serve are everywhere. We just need to open our eyes to see them. Do you see someone sitting alone in the lunch room? Invite her to join you. Do you see a woman pushing a stroller through a store entrance? Hold the door open. Did a classmate drop all his books in the hall? Help him pick them up. Acts of service don’t need to be big projects in order to count. Developing a lifestyle of service involves noticing and responding to the little needs around you.
Team up. Gather a group of friends or neighbors to form a service club. Choose one project a month and tackle it together, such as picking up trash around town, watching younger kids for a single mom, collecting goods for a food drive, and so on. Serving together is a great way to build relationships while putting your faith into action.
Adopt a cause. As a family, choose one charity to support year-round. Maybe it’s sponsoring a child overseas, praying regularly for a missionary family from your church, donating used clothing to a local homeless shelter, or volunteering in Sunday School. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s a cause that has meaning to your family, then rally the whole crew around it.
Tithe. Encourage your kids to give a portion of their allowance to a worthy cause. While giving time is an important part of serving, giving money can also help teach kids that the world does not revolve around them, and God wants them to share with others.
For more information on International Day of Charity, visit http://www.un.org/en/events/charityday/.